The Woes of a Locavore

July 16, 2013 at 9:18 am

Spending, Schlepping, and Other Insights into the Eat Local Life


oak park farmers market - 7-13-13

I have a somewhat complicated routine each Saturday morning. I’m the only one up and around to walk Molly, the Eat Local dog. Then, on the way to market I pick up a bag of ice for @Shes_cooking at her Tomato Mountain stand. After dropping off the ice, my next obligation at the market is to see if she’s had time for coffee. If not, and mostly it’s not, I grab her thermos, pre-filled with vegan milk, and head with it for my weekly donut fix. Here’s where it gets difficult. I start scoping out the market offerings.

My first thoughts the other day, this is the kind of market that made me a locvore. I taste a cherry here, I talk washed rind cheese with Joe Burns there. I see so many fruits and vegetables. Who would not want to eat local. Until it hits me. It’s not as easy as it seems.

Take kohlrabi. Who needs to take kohlrabi, not the least me who already has tons from the CSA. Yet, the kohlrabi looking like Clincher softballs at Geneva Lakes look oh so tempting. I resist. Where will I not. What should my budget be today? Is $30 reasonable for tomatoes, eggplants, cukes, the first peaches? I have my eyes on all of that. More summer onions, freshly dug potatoes, eff-in tayberries, the first jalepeno peppers, the first shishito peppers (one pint or two?!?) more banana peppers, apples. Yes, it’s worth buying apples in the summer because the tart flavor of transparents is so fleeting. Should I make my budget $40. I need to buy some herbs.

Look above, I won’t tell you how much I spent but you can see how much I bought. Giving in to all my eat local desires only left me with additional problems. The biggest, getting the stuff to the car, out of the car, and on to the dining room table without smashing the precious berries or crushing the first tomatoes. That hurdle lept, I need to arrange it all into one photo just so you can appreciate.

As gorgeous as our local fruits and vegetables are, we must part with them at some point. They must be cooked and eaten. Last week, I actually did my Tamarday on Thursday, but I still needed to put a few things together. I got the grill going. I did not rest from the market. Fueled by a sugary donut, I make another batch of Tunisian vegetable salad, although, woe is me, it’s for a party later. I need to feed myself and the rest of the Local Family Turkish breakfast. I grill more eggplants for baba ghanoush. I take the zukes in the fridge onto the grill. My only relief, a daughter slices and washes the organic Tomato Mountain lettuce for a green salad.

turkish breakfast

My respite, my locavore reward. Besides the salad, the baba, it’s Vicki’s shishito peppers fried, Joe’s cheese fried, a few olives, tarmasalata from Fresh Farms in Niles, Red Hen bread. And because life is good.

fatty yogurt

Greek yogurt is all the rage, and it should be because it tastes better than the equally rage-y kefir (at least it’s more palatable), and it has an ungodly amount of protein per serving. Still, most people eating Greek yogurt don’t know what they’re getting. Zero fat Greek yogurt probably sells the most, and most places, I’m looking at you Whole Foods, don’t go past 2 percent. Stop. Get the real thing, the Fage “Total”, coming in at about 4 percent fat. It’s what you need after all that hard eat local work. Just make sure to have it with Illinois honey.