Eating Priorities: Local, In-season, Organic – Oh My!
I’m beginning to question how to go about eating local without sacrificing one thing for another. I can’t imagine what Barbara Kingsolver, author of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, went through when she had to sit the family down to discuss their grocery list as they entered a year of living off the land. As I read, I try to put myself in her shoes and can see Camille’s eyes calling on sympathy just to have some fresh fruit in April. Amazing to think that in parts of this country and this city that its like pulling teeth for kids to drop the bag of fire hot Cheetos for a fresh apple. Here we have a perfectly “healthy”; request from a child that will be sacrificed for eating local. But, is it really a sacrifice…
For me, the most important part of eating is flavor. If the meal, veggie, fruit, piece of meat or other, lacks flavor, there really was no point to eating said item other than keeping my stomach from grumbling. When you are eating Local and in season there really is no sacrifice here. This is why I wait until July to eat sweet, juicy corn on the cob and walk by the rows of tomatoes at the supermarket to “smell test” until late July or August before they make it into my basket. In this case, I am not sacrificing flavor for eating local but what about eating local over eating organic.
I am not militant about eating organic but it is something that I try to incorporate in my life when possible. Surely, I can ask the farmer at the farmers’ market or my CSA farm but when I step foot in the produce aisle at Whole Foods I see a sea of organic labels with states of origin that are not my own. California tomatoes, peaches and grapes! Its tomato season in the Midwest and not one Illinois, Michigan or Wisconsin farm is to be seen. Enter my eating dilemma…Those tomatoes sure smell ripe and they would compliment my evening meal so well but why are they from California when they could be from a neighboring farm. So here I make a sacrifice – no tomatoes for dinner.
So, I am wondering for those that are making an effort to eat local, how do you balance without making yourself crazy? Eating and cooking is supposed to be an enjoyable and nourishing experience that I can share with others. How do I make sure I am not sacrificing flavor and some conveniences, like shopping at the grocery store, for eating local?