That title’s been used before right? It’s not humanly possible that someone far more clever and far more tapped into the food world than I has written that before. Even so, I’m going to role with it and hope I can make sense out of it. Anyway, if you’re unfamiliar with the term, a locavore is someone who eats food exclusively from the area they live in. It’s a way of living that doesn’t tax the land as much while also utilizing it and people who work in the are you live. It’s a great idea, but it’s got some problems, at least for me.
I happen to be lucky enough to live in a very rural area that also has all the conveniences of a city. That means I can run to the grocery store or a Target in 10 to 15 minutes no problem, but I can also hit up the local farmer’s market or a farm stand. As it is, my current grocery shopping routine includes going through cookbooks and websites during the day on Monday to get a list together and then hit up the grocery store later that day. I also go to the Cornwall farmer’s market on Wednesdays which means I try to limit the amount of produce I buy at the store in favor of the market. So, that’s kind of a pain.
But, I do like supporting local farmers — my great grandfather on my dad’s side was a farmer, so I feel some connection there even though I never met him — the produce is super fresh and might even taste better (hard for me to say, I don’t have the best palette in the world) and, at least at the one stand I frequent, pretty darn cheap. But it’s not all positive. My biggest problem with the produce I get from the market is that it doesn’t last nearly as long. Of course, I know that’s because it’s fresher and doesn’t contain preservatives, but it can also make for a lot more waste than I personally like. That brings up the question of whether it’s better to buy produce you’ll use that might have come from a different state, but you’ll use it all OR wind up wasting some that you buy locally. These are the things I think about.
Additionally, the market ends in the fall. So, what’s a guy supposed to do? Can or freeze everything? I do some of that, but we don’t have much space and I would get bored of such things very quickly. I happen to live in New York, about an hour or so north of NYC, so it can get pretty intense here in the winter. What do you do then? I’m sure there’s some websites dedicated that very thing, but I’m just brainstorming here, let me know if you know of any good resources.
Vegetables and fruit aside, I’ve had trouble getting things in sync when it comes to meat. There’s a few local meat vendors at these things, but by the time Wednesday roles around, I usually have a fridge or freezer full of meet — I usually buy more than I need at the store so I can make that meal and freeze more for later which winds up being more economical.
One last problem I have with the whole locavore thing is that I’ve got a baby who loves bananas and grapes and all kinds of fruit. If I fully subscribed to the locavore idea, I’d probably have to find alternatives and, honestly, I don’t feel like doing that. Yes, it’s a laziness thing, I freely admit to that, but it’s also because she likes those things so darn much, I don’t have the heart to take them away from her. Actually, now that I think about it, there’s lots of wineries around here, so there should be grapes. I have no idea about bananas though.
So, at the end of the day, I really like the idea of being a locavore, but I just can’t fully commit to it right now and don’t know if I ever will. I think it’s important to utilize the technology we have to get as much food to as many people as possible, but it’s equally important to buy local when you can and when it makes sense. I think the problem for a lot of people is a lack of access or knowledge when it comes to this idea. Many people just assume heading to the grocery store is where it’s at, I was one of them too until I really started getting into cooking and food. Anyway, I’ll do my best.