Be a Better Locavore (Than Me) After Earth Day

April 28, 2010 at 9:16 am

Rob Gardner

It’s been a long time since this Local Family went the locavore route.  We followed the path to outstanding tasting food; food with meaning and food that positively effects all around the road.  Since the fortiest passing of Earth Day, I hope more and more of you are taking the local way.  Not only can you easily eat local like my family, you can be better locavores than us.  And no, please, I am not asking you to be more strict; to eat within a 100 mile barrier, to forsake olive oil for lard (not that a we are against lard) and make sandwiches from slices of turnip when the supplies of local wheat wanes.  Be prudent in your approach.  Wake up and smell the coffee.  Still, there are all kinds of ways you can do better than me, and maybe, by next Earth Day, I’ll have done better too.

  • Dry more fruits - Every year about April, I wish we had more dried fruit around.  The apples are hard to find; the seasonal citrus is no longer seasonal; every time I want to put a banana in the kid’s lunch it’s green; I’m not buying a foreign strawberry no matter how red they look on the outside; I wait for strawberry’s that are red on the inside too.  Oh, and the membrillo my wife slowly, slowed cooked down from local quince; that she metes out so stingily that it’s off limits to lunches.  What we should have done is get those plums on the cheap at the end of the season and make local prunes.  Or dry other stuff. 
  • Dried is not just what’s for lunch – The Local Family has done a better job drying non-fruit foods, but we can do better here too.  Some poo-pah dried herbs, and maybe dried parsley adds little, but dried oregano and dried mint, especially, add a lot too dishes as any Greek diner can tell you.  We need to put aside more herbs for drying.  I mean there aint nothing to it beyond neglect. 
  • Pickle peppers – If we’ve done one thing well dried, it’s peppers, and we’ve always had a ready supply of dried peppers to use culinarily.  We could, however, use pickled peppers too in the long period between chili seasons.
  • Horde more garlic – Nothing complicated here.  We just did not buy enough garlic last fall to last until the first green garlic of the season.  We had to cheat with a few heads of Cali this year.
  • Keep our Great Lakes free of Asian carp – The Local Family and everyone else is pretty much at the starting gate when it comes to enjoying the fine flavors of Illinois river carps.  Big River Fish, based in Pearl, Illinois is processing 30 million pounds of Asian carp from our local waters for overseas markets.  Let’s give them a local market too.  We gladly stand behind Chef Phillip Foss who is not only fighting for food trucks in Chicago, he’s fighting for better acceptance of Asian carp, er we mean Shanghai bass, on our plates. 
  • Drink local – Wine has been right behind coffee on our list of “exceptions.  Wendy’s case is awfully convincing, so that’s gonna change.
  • Stink up the house – We’ve pickled not enough with vinegar, yet we’ve never gone even more basic and pickled through fermentation.  Using commercial sauerkraut, my wife proved that when she prepares it, the Local Family will gobble up sauerkraut.  Would not it be better with our own made kraut. And why stop with kraut.  Kimchee, turnips, deli pickles, lacto-fermented foods are good for you too.

Offer up more ways you will out local the Local Family this year.


One Comment

  1. Liv says:

    Hi, Rob –

    I know this is a bit of an old post to comment on, but I’ve been looking everywhere for a place to buy quince. You mentioned that your wife found some last year, can you find out where she bought them.

    Thank you!


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