Fresh produce at Farmers Market
To bee or not to (Honest) bee
COME FRY WITH ME - Johanna Garcia (The Philippine Star) - November 15, 2018 - 12:00am

I’m fortunate enough to work from home, which means I don’t have to deal with the hellish traffic nearly as often as everyone else who lives in the metro.

The other day, however, running an errand from the entrance of BGC to Market! Market! and back, a distance of roughly two-and-a-half kilometers, took me a total of two hours. Even at a leisurely lola pace, I could have walked there and back in half the time. And that little horror story explains my reluctance to travel all the way to Farmers Market in Cubao from Makati despite the lure of incredibly fresh seafood, vegetables and other produce.

So, when I received an invitation to join an Honestbee media event at Farmers’ Market in Cubao, I jumped at the chance, especially if it meant jumping in someone else’s van and not having to worry about traffic or parking. I hadn’t been there in decades, and I was eager to snag me some of that Farmers Market-fresh seafood.

For those of you who haven’t tried it yet, Honestbee is a delivery service phone app that allows you to order food and groceries from a wide variety of restaurants, supermarkets and specialty shops without ever having to leave home. I’ve used them to order dinner when the weather is bad (or I think parking will be an issue), as well as goods from S&R when I’m too afraid to brave the long lines a super sale inevitably brings, as well as the aforementioned still-life portrait called BGC traffic. 

Shopper Bee Arceli name a few.

When we first got to Farmers, I was struck at how immaculate everything was. Stalls were organized efficiently, making it easy to navigate according to what I needed. No wet, clammy floors and fishy smells to assault your feet and senses and force you to breathe through your mouth while shopping. Yes, I know it’s been ages since Farmers Market has gotten its act together, but that’s how I remember it from my youth.

We were met by Cat Avelino, Honestbee director of marketing, and, in the interests of full disclosure, a former colleague who has somehow managed to stay a dear friend despite all the many ways I tortured her then.

We divvied up into groups, each led by an Honestbee Shopper Bee. Ours was a perky and thoroughly knowledgeable young woman named Arceli who proceeded to educate us on what to look for when shopping for vegetables, fish and meat.

According to Cat, the Shopper Bees all undergo a training module specially designed by Honestbee, which includes exams and on-the-job training and simulations. This module teaches them what to look for and what to avoid when shopping for various fruits, vegetables, meats and seafood, so that Honestbee customers can rest easy knowing they’re getting the best-quality produce available. In fact, if the produce available isn’t up to par, shoppers will contact the customer to let them know and suggest alternative options.

Cat Avelino, branding and communications director, Honestbee

Arceli certainly knew her stuff, and gave us a tour of the market, showing us the sign that indicated Honestbee-accredited vendors, as well as their pickup point where they coordinated with their rider partners for order pickups and deliveries. She also showed us how to choose the best cabbages (green with firm stems and no loose leaves), onions (firm, dry, and unblemished), and fish (intact scales, bright eyes, and odor-free), to name a few.

On my way back home, I made sure to buy a kilo of fresh clams so I could make the ridiculously easy Spaghetti alle Vongole recipe pictured below. It’s simple, quick and absolutely delicious, as long as you’ve got great clams.

And, while going to Farmers’ Market was enjoyable, it was great to know that I could skip the trek and holiday traffic altogether and still manage to make a great seafood pasta even if I chose to delegate this task to Honestbee’s Shopper Bees and Driver Bees (P.S. Yes, I made that last title up. But I think they should totally use it.)

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For questions, comments and suggestions, email me at Johanna@realgirltoykitchen.com, or follow me on FB (Real Girl Toy Kitchen)/IG: realgirltoykitchen.

DRIVER BEES HONESTBEE SHOPPER BEES
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