As many of you know, I am committed to eating locally. This means that aside from a few special requests (read: banana cream pie) I haven’t had a banana in a few years. I try to get all my produce from the farmer’s market, and when I can’t, I try to stick to fruits and vegetables that I know are grown locally, or at the very least are in season (I check those pesky labels at Trader Joe’s to make sure the product is from California, or at least the US.)
Eating locally and eating seasonally go hand and hand, and I’ve been able to commit to both with ease. If I don’t see it at the farmer’s market, but I do see it at the grocery store, I know not to buy it because it must not be in season, or local.
A few weeks ago, Jeff said, “You know what we haven’t done in a while? Spaghetti squash.” He was lucky that he realized this just as they started to come back into season. But isn’t that how it is? You get sick of blueberries just in time for stone fruit season, and when you don’t think you can eat another peach, apples grace the market.
Barbara Kingsolver does a great job of explaining eating locally, seasonally, and how hard it can be (but rewarding) in her book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. I loved this book because it was about a mostly average family doing the best they can to live life in a way that is environmentally conscious.
I think the hardest thing about eating locally means you’re committed to sticking with what’s available, and your taste for the “exotic” is limited, too. As our world becomes more and more global our taste buds are introduced to the foods of places we might never get to travel – and that’s a good thing. But the staples of Ireland or Ethiopia or India were never the same because they used what they had where they were. That’s what I have committed to, to save the environment.
I’m not a true locavore, because I don’t always buy local food other than produce. But produce was an easy habit to build, and I am to move towards locavore-ism as I can afford the time, education, and money to do so.
Here’s an infographic to help you see the differences it can make to eat locally.
Do you try to eat locally, or seasonally?