Over vacation I was reminded about the choices I make when I eat in two ways that inspired me to rethink things once I got home. In addition to seeing the documentary Food Inc. I finally had a chance to read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Barbara Kingsolver’s book on her own family’s attempt to eat locally for a year. It was a fantastic read, and inspired me to do what little I could to support local food and cook seasonally. The latter isn’t totally unfamiliar to me, as I did just that when I lived in Paris many moons ago. However, it’s something I’ve become less accustomed to, as the produce specials at the local supermarkets don’t always reflect the seasonality of Northern California, but that of South America (i.e. asparagus for $1.50 a pound in December) and other parts of the world.
Since growing a garden is something I’m not capable of, as I have an ebony thumb, and no patience to deal with the sandy, nutrient-free soil in our backyard, I figured I’d support the local farmer’s market, something I’ve done for the past few summers. While that’s not such a big step, I did go one further, pulling out my dehydrator so I could start drying a pint of cherry tomatoes each week – something Kingsolver recommends in her book. The first batch was so easy to make, and turned out well enough that I’m sufficiently inspired to continue this, as I’m not planning on eating tomatoes this winter unless they’re in a sauce or dried.
And while I’ll still buy non-local cheeses and wines from the local Grocery Outlet and have no intention of baking my own bread or raising & slaughtering my own poultry, I’m taking baby steps towards this whole locavore thing.