Moving toward local eating: Summary

Choosing vegetablesPart of the “Moving toward local eating” series

Which of these is the most important? For me, awareness, followed closely by enough experience to know what I can and can’t do as far as a local diet goes.  Figuring out what is and is not essential.  For me…I love me some avocados, and they will be the last thing I stop buying from afar.  For my sweetie, it’s probably raisins.  Carrots are also critical, but I can’t grow them worth a darn and they are actually very difficult to find locally – and when you do find them, they are tiny and outrageously expensive.  I’m not even very good at storing them yet, but I need to find a way to do so, because we eat carrots every single day and I’ve not yet found something to replace them in all their uses.

It’s also been important for me to learn when to back off.  Buying instead of growing my tomatoes, especially for pizza sauce, is a great option.  Salsa is still expensive enough that I’ll make my own, but good tomatoes are so readily available, I’m happy to buy them rather than to grow and process my own.  Sandwich bread is another one of those things.  I’ve made a hundred loaves of bread in the last few years, and I don’t think we’ve ever finished one. Ever.  They always get moldy or stale because something gets in the way of eating it.  And at this point, I don’t really care.  I buy Aunt Millie’s, which is baked in Jackson, probably from high plains wheat, but I’m not even sure about that.  I can make an OK loaf of sandwich bread, but the main sandwich-eater really just likes his pre-sliced loaf.  Which is fine by me; one less thing I have to make at home.  I also don’t worry too much about rice being our main grain at home at this point.  We’re eating a lot more potatoes now that I’m growing them, but rice is another thing I’m content to buy in big bags shipped across the country as long as I may.

If I have any advice through all this, it’s simply to start somewhere, push yourself a little bit, and don’t kill yourself doing it.  Sourcing at least part of your food locally is vitally important, to keep your neighbors employed and to ensure there’s some food supply you can get your hands on without the need for a bazillion gallons of oil and three international treaties.  “Some” is better than “none,” and “a lot” is better than “some.” Just keep in mind that you have to sustain your sustainability, and keep enjoying a nip of chocolate if that’s what keeps you happy. 🙂

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2 Comments

  1. Suzie said,

    February 8, 2011 at 9:32 pm

    Raisins – Interesting! I’m not so much of a raisin fan. But it definitely seems like something that *could* be had locally, as grapes grow locally to you. Though come to think of it I’m not sure I’ve seen locally grown grapes at the market. Odd. Guess they’re all going in to wine. Something to ponder!

  2. Alan said,

    February 9, 2011 at 8:04 am

    I’ve really enjoyed this series. We have started down a more “hard core” road, but I find that your balanced approach has helped me not go crazy as we move to a mostly local food system. It is a long process. I think communication between consumers (I hate that word, but cant think of a better one right now…) and producers can help get more of the things you want into your local food system. Adding new crops (especially things like grapes or nuts) takes time and money. As a producer I know I would be much more motivated to make the investment if I knew there was a real local market at the end of the tunnel. M. Phillips (The Apple Grower http://www.herbsandapples.com/home.php) talks about an orchard share program (kind of like a CSA) where members buy trees for a new orchard and then get a share of the apples/cider when the orchard starts to produce. Helping local farmers invest in what you want shows commitment on your part and makes it possible for them to move a bit faster to meet market needs.

    Wow, I’m writing too much. Thanks for a great series. Hope you keep poking the idea. Share what you are doing and keep us inspired.


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