Today’s the day; I am a locavore. As of right now, I will only eat locally sourced foods. I’m not gonna lie, I kind of feel like I’m going on a diet. I am, after all, purposely restricting my food choices. In an effort to allow my new locavore status to inspire me rather than scare me (I love Italian cheeses so much!), I decided to make two lists. The first list states the reasons I’m embarking on this All Local Experiment (I needed reminding). The second list is my personal guidebook for local eating, complete with any non-local, “luxury” items I can’t live without (like coffee). Let’s begin. . .
Rachel’s Reasons to be a Locavore
1. Taste – Foods grown or raised near your home are fresher. Ergo, they taste better. For example, pick a red, ripe strawberry and pop it in your mouth. Now, compare that strawberry with your average grocery store variety. Enough said.
2. Local Economy – When I buy from a local grower, I am supporting my local economy. I’m happy to support my CSA farmer Toby over at Bayberry Farm, because he’s trying to accomplish something admirable–provide fresh, quality food grown in a sustainable and natural manner as a responsible steward of the land. Go Toby!
I met Toby, my farmer, on Sunday. He is passionate about what he does, and I’m happy to support his efforts and also reap the benefits of his sustainable work on Bayberry Farm.
3. Environment – If my food is not packed in California and shipped to my local grocery store, I’m shrinking my carbon footprint. The average food item travels 1500 miles to reach me; so much unnecessary fuel and energy! Not to mention the chemicals a vegetable is treated with in order to sustain the journey, which leads me to my third reason. . .
4. Health – If I know how my food is produced or grown, I am confident it will not harm me (and will be packed with nutrition). I want to eat the healthiest food I can find, so why would I buy a tomato from an unknown, faceless grower in Florida when I can get a better one down the street from John?
Ah, I’m feeling better about this already! Those three reasons are just the tip of the iceberg for me (I could go on and on about GMOs). I’m getting excited, so let’s talk about my guidelines for this local experiment. . .
Rachel’s Local Experiment Guidelines
1. Eat Local – Everything I eat will be locally sourced within a 100-mile radius of my front door AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE (from farmer’s markets, produce stands, regular markets like Harvest, and maybe the grocery store). I have yet to discover a coffee farm in Delaware, so as follows is my list of necessary non-local items:
- Coffee – I can buy from local coffee roasters, but alas, coffee does not grow in my backyard, and I cannot live without coffee. I simply cannot.
- Lemons – This seems like a silly cheat, but I am addicted to fresh lemon water. I keep some in a pretty pitcher in the fridge and I swear it’s the only way I stay hydrated.
- Cooking basics – Items I use a lot like salt, pepper, some spices, soy sauce and olive oil won’t be local. I did buy olive oil from California though, which is closer than my usual brand.
2. Support Local Restaurants – I like to eat out on occasion, so if I do, I will frequent my favorite restaurants trying to use local ingredients, like LBR 614, Home Grown Cafe, The House of William and Merry, Twelves Grill, and the many more I plan to discover this year!
3. Be Polite – If I am asked over a friend’s house for say, a barbecue, I will not be a food snob. Questions like, “Do you know if the potatoes in this potato salad were grown in the tri-state area? Also, did you make the mayonnaise in the potato salad with local, free-range, pastured chicken eggs?” or “This vintage 1964 Petrus wine is okay, but do you have any local wine?” are unacceptable and a little snotty. Also, if I’m invited out to dinner at a restaurant, I will try my best to suggest one of my local favorites, but if a friend is hell-bent on eating sushi, I will not burst any bubbles (and I love sushi!).
So how long will this local experiment last? I would like to say indefinitely, but for now, I’m coinciding it with my CSA share. From now until mid-October, I will eat only local foods. That will give me a chance to see how it goes as the seasons change. I’m excited to get started and I’ve already received encouragement from many people, including my friend Natalie, who just sent me this text message: “I am proud of you for doing this local initiative…you can do it!” Thanks, Natalie!
And now (insert drum roll or dramatic music here) the local experiment begins. . .