Sunday, June 12, 2011

Eat Local! (very local...)

I've posted previously about blackberry picking. We went strawberry picking to kick-off our first day of summer this year. And faithful readers have seen multiple recipes that include local ingredients... many of which are backyard-local. I grew up with gardens - flowers, shrubs, apple trees, herbs, tomatoes, peppers, raspberries, water gardens... My parents continue to provide us with home-away-from-home backyard gardens - all of the above, but now with strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, peas, beans, lettuce, spinach, swiss chard, rhubarb, radishes, onions, garlic, sweet potatoes... We planted tomatoes and peppers our first summer in this house and, while we obtained a great neighborhood with big trees which was a must, we also have too much shade for full-blown gardens. If we didn't have the luxury of Gran and Grandpa's garden, we'd certainly be saving for some tree-trimming!

Yesterday, Lawrence had a "Food Garden Tour" - a free, self-guided tour of local gardens, both commercial and residential. It was a great opportunity to see what other families are doing and it was impressive to see the food-production that husbands and wives, moms and dads are maintaining. Abby and Elise loved exploring the gardens, seeing the chickens, and talking with the kids. And I loved that they were getting yet one more exposure to where food comes from.

The girls are in the process of their annual garden-feast: it starts with rhubarb, strawberries, spinach, and sugar snap peas. The raspberries are starting. Blackberries will be next. Followed by sweet peppers. And the quantity of tomatoes that they will consume is downright amazing.

Let's talk for a minute about the sugar snap peas, because they are such a perfect example of where I'm going with this. I found some at The Merc about a month ago - fresh organic sweet peas are hard to come by and rather expensive, so the girls haven't had many opportunities to eat them. I tried several times and, given the ones that I bought, no one was sold. Then spring arrived. The pea plants began sprouting... growing...blooming. Abby and Elise have been eating them by the handful from the garden. They are hands-on, they are fresh, they are real... they are perfect. 
Think about it: eating local means you get the freshest food, you eliminate gas-usage from travel/shipping/buying, your children learn where their food comes from, and you can graze barefoot in a swimsuit... or half of a swimsuit, for that matter. Just think about it. 

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