Friday, August 03, 2007

Mi Vida Local: What I Learned

Although my commitment to eating more locally produced foods didn't stop on Wednesday when the calendar flipped to August, the Mi Vida Local experiment did. If I'm completely honest with you all, it didn't go as well as I had hoped. My trip mid-month messed up my farmer's market schedule and left me eating less-than-local for much of the last two weeks. I did the best I could, given the circumstances. But being the perfectionist that I am, I'm disappointed in my performance.

My experiment wasn't a complete wash. Here's what I learned:

  • Even in the middle of summer, when local produce is plentiful, eating locally isn't always convenient.

  • Eating locally might not be convenient, but the benefits are worth the trouble.

  • Even if I can't eat locally for every meal of every day, eating locally grown and produced foods whenever I can is good for me, good for the environment and good for my tastebuds.

  • Creative cooking is a great way to wind down at the end of the day.

  • Fresh herbs make food better.

  • Ripe tomatoes taste sweet and tangy. Sliced up and sprinkled with a little bit of salt and pepper, they make a great snack.

  • Bulk buying at the farmer's market isn't a great idea when you're cooking for one and don't have the time or space to can or freeze the leftovers.

  • Trying a vegetable I've never tried before is what I consider an adventure these days. Purple peppers, swiss chard--now that's living on the edge.

  • Paying a little more for peaches and tomatoes that actually taste like peaches and tomatoes is well worth cutting back on lattes and lunches out.

So even if I didn't meet all of my goals during Mi Vida Local, I know that eating locally can be done. I'll continue to eat locally as much as possible. And next year I think I'll take it up a notch. I'm planning to buy a small freezer so that next summer I can put away more fresh fruit and vegetables for the winter months. I'm already thinking about how I can expand my backyard garden. And I just might venture into canning territory if all goes well.

*Thanks for the prompt Jen!


patresa hartman said...

ooh, that's a fantastic idea! eating local. but holy hell, that would be a challenge!

in dsm, we have farmers markets in various neighbors almost every day, so you can nearly always find one. but i have a hard time eating everything before it goes bad, too.

and i think farmers market peaches are the most incredible peaches EVER. i crave them.

Anonymous said...

I keep wanting to try this, but the idea of taking two toddlers to the Farmer's Market at O Dark Hour has kept me from going.

I need to stop thinking about it though and just doing!

You're right, I love fresh tomatoes (this year I hope to have some from our own garden) and Peaches, ahhh, driving down through Georgia is well worth the trip, sometimes!

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