Buying Local Is Hard In Winter

I’m currently engrossed in Barbara Kingsolver’s book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year In Food Life.  In it 51seqiztr0l_sl160_Kingsolver dramatically recounts her family’s year of eating only locally grown foods. I was so inspired I decided to do a little test this weekend and only buy Oregon grown produce for our family, despite it being the heart of winter.

My little experiment would have been a lot easier had I chosen a weekend when a winter’s farmers’ market was open, but alas I did not. Instead I headed to New Seasons, thinking they’d have a similar selection to the farmers’ market, right? The produce looked amazing when I walked in but I was disappointed to come away with only the following Oregon-grown produce: shallots, russet potatoes and turnips. The kale was marked “Oregon-grown” but on closer inspection of the label it was from California.  I threw in some California baby carrots because we can’t live without those in our house and called it good.

The produce I did find will make a great stew from the free-range beef I picked up this past week from Abundant Life Farm. Next weekend the experiment continues but at the Hillsdale Farmers’ Market. I have a feeling I’ll have better luck but I’ll let you know.



  1. Lorie said,

    January 5, 2009 at 11:40 am

    I read that book this past year and have kept it on my shelf of limited “keep” type books. The recipes were inspiring. It certainly makes you think. I really want to get signed up with a local farm for a share of their crop this year. Sometimes I read these types of books and then for a moment wish I hadn’t because the more you know the more you are held accountable for what you know and that can be rather complicating. But in the end I am glad that I read it and glad that I know, even if it makes my decisions a bit more complicated. Remember trying to find the bananas?

  2. Jennifer said,

    January 23, 2009 at 12:48 am

    How funny about the kale because I live in California. I too try to shop locally for my produce and do have it a little easier here because our area is warm enough throughout the year to grow a variety of produce. It is tough because I cook from scratch a lot and I recently bought some zucchini for a soup which was blatantly stamped from Mexico. In other instances, I have had to look further to learn the true origin of produce because I’ve noticed that there are a lot of local farms that place their domestic label over a foreign label. Good for you ! I am “patiently waiting” for strawberries and won’t give in to the early arrivals from Mexico (even though they look sooooo good!)

    Enjoy Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. I’m reading the same.

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