I have to admit that eating locally is not something I do very well. In fact, my friend Renee recently mentioned in an email the importance of eating locally, and how if we continue to choose cheap foods from other countries, our own farmers will eventually be put out of business. Well, that got my attention. Though I try to buy organic foods at the grocery store, make food from scratch as much as possible, and frequent the local farmer's market in the summer, I do these things more for health than any else's well being.
I am especially guilty of this in the cold weather months. I LOVE tropical fruit in winter--bananas, mangoes, pineapple, dried papaya--love it, love it, love it. In fact, I'd have to say that it's what I eat most of, after the organic apples which are grown heaven knows where.
Strawberries, grapes, cherries, blueberries--the list goes on and on. And that's just the fruit! So, my friend's observation has really gotten me thinking. How could I incorporate more local foods into my diet, especially in the cold winter months? Is it really hopeless? Am I destined to a fate of dried local apple slices and potatoes for months on end?
I interviewed a wonderful woman named Robin a few months ago for an article I was working on. Robin heads up the Mad River Localvores here in Vermont. She is completely, utterly dedicated to this movement and shared with me that she and her husband are complete and total localvores, other than the spices that they cook with which come from non-local sources. When I asked how she survived the winters without lettuce, grapes and other warm weather produce, she told me that it's just something you get accustomed to. She said my reaction is typical (which made me feel only slightly better) and that it's really just about making different choices. Over time, it becomes second nature. As an added benefit, when you do get local foods like peas, greens and asparagus, you tend to appreciate them a lot more.
Maybe it's time to borrow "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" again from the library. It's definitely time to think about how I can grow, buy, and preserve more local foods for next year's cold winter months.