There are few (food) things worse than bringing home a beautiful apple, peach, or mango from the grocery store only to find it mealy and old when you ate it. I'm truly afraid to know all of the tricks the grocers use to make an old, languishing apple look so tempting. Hannah at the Bittersweet Blog describes her horrifying story in this Bittersweet Apple Tale (it even comes with pictures).
This summer I'm reading Animal Vegetable Miracle, by Barbara Kingsolver. Check out the link to the books website to find your local farmers market and read more about one family's year long local sustainability project including excerpts from contributing members of the family. Not that I'm completely stupid about where my food comes from. I just don't think about it on a daily basis, ignoring certain items I just can't live without, such as the liquid gold known as coffee. During the summer I don't have to travel far to buy directly from the farm or dairy and I'm extra lucky to have neighbors who are generous with their own gardens. It's the winter that makes it a little easier to disregard the "product of Chile" label on my favorite fruits and vegetables.
Guide to Washington State Farmers Markets
So, I have made a commitment to be aware of my food purchases, where it comes from and the impact we can have the sustainability of our local farms. Side note: We began buying our milk and ice cream from a dairy shop that makes their own ice cream and sells milk, eggs, and butter for local area farms. Within a week the dairy that supplied their milk went out of business. They have a new dairy, but now we hear that the dairy shop may have to close so the local church can build a mall for their parish. It does take extra time and footwork to visit the dairy shop, farmers market, and local butcher for the food but when Ally turned to us the other day and said "by eating this ice cream we can help the local farms stay in business" I knew that talking about it teaches our children to think about their food as they grow up to be little consumers themselves.
Here is a link to the new movement The 100 mile diet where you can find information and a list of 13 Reasons to eat locally
13. And always remember:
Everything about food and cooking is a metaphor for sex.