Living La Vida Locavore

Cat 243 Dover by Mary Jo

I decided to riff on Barbara Kingsolver's most recent book, ANIMAL, VEGETABLE, MIRACLE partly because the book is such fun, but also because of the insights on what eating and food production were like in the not-too-far distant historical path.

Part memoir and part a journalistic exploration of our food system, AVM chronicles a year when Kingsolver, her biology professor husband, Steven Hopp, and her daughters Camille and Lily, became locavores–living on food grown within AVM a hundred miles of their home, a good amount of it raised on their own small farm.  Barbara's husband and older daughter coauthored the book, with Steven contributing sidebars on food science and production and 19 year old Camille writing monthly updates and seasonal recipes. 

As most of you probably know, to be a locavore—that is, to eat food produced locally— is a new wave of food interest.  Many parts of the world have never gotten away from eating mostly local foods, but in modern America, most of us think nothing of eating fruit from South America, salad from the Imperial Valley, lamb from the Antipodes, and salmon from the waters off Alaska. 

And it’s not just food.  My local Trader Joe's currently has small bunches of just Daffodils opening daffodils from England for a mere $1.50 each.  I told myself not to think about the jet fuel involved in shipping daffodils across the Atlantic and I bought a bunch because I fell in love with those first daffodils of springtime when I lived in England.  But it's a long way for flowers to come. 

Still, it was living in England that made me much more conscious of the pleasures of seasonal eating.  The first strawberries of spring are exquisite, with a flavor and texture far superior to the year-round berries that come from far places.  The knowledge of brief seasons makes fresh food taste all the more special.  I came to appreciate the winter vegetables that dominated English markets in the cold season.  (Yes, I confess it: I like Brussells sprouts.  The Brussels sprouts kind I cook quickly so they're still green rather than the gray, over-boiled variety.)

I've always loved Barbara Kingsolver's essays, which are smart, funny, and have the self-deprecating charm of sharing a cup of coffee with an old friend.  After years of spending the school year in Tucson and summers in Appalachian Virginia, she and her family moved permanently to Virginia.  The move was partly to be closer to family (Kingsolver grew up in nearby Kentucky), and partly because the land could better support their experiment in locavore living than the deserts of Arizona. 

Barbara's family shared a mutual interest in food, both producing and consuming, so they all agreed to the year's experiment.  Not only would it be educational, but fun, and they got a bestselling book out of it.  <g> 

Kingsolver & family Each member of the family was allowed to choose one non-local "luxury" item for the year.  Steven chose coffee (Barbara said that if he had to choose between coffee and his family, it would be a tough call. <g>)  Camille chose dried fruit, Lilly hot chocolate, and Barbara the spices and flavorings needed for her cooking.  (You can grow garlic and onions in Virginia, but not cloves, turmeric, and cinnamon.)  Plus, there was no local source for flour or olive oil.  So those they bought, but in all cases, the specialty items were purchased from fair trade sources that benefited the producers and the land where they were grown.  

AVM is great fun to read even for people who don’t know how to boil an egg.  The Bourbon red 2 chapter on turkey sex is hilarious.  Barbara wanted to start a breeding flock of Bourbon Red turkeys, a heritage breed. Heritage breeds of vegetables, fruit, and farm animals are some of the survivors of what used to be a vast area of varieties. 

If you’re raising apples for yourself and your neighbors rather than for distant markets, you aren’t concerned with whether it’s tough enough to shipped three thousand miles in a crate.  You go for flavor and other characteristics.  Our farming ancestors didn’t order from catalogs—they took cuttings or seeds from neighbors. 

A lot of those older farm varieties had better flavor, better disease resistance, and other superior characteristics to what is currently available through agribusiness.  Broade breasted white turkey These days, a small but growing band of farmers are raising heritage plants and animals to preserve these older varieties.  Hence, Barbara’s choice of the Bourbon Red turkeys.  The average American table turkey is a Broad-Breasted White—lots of white meat, no sex life, and zero ability to survive on their own.  These commercial turkeys are conceived through in artificial insemination, so turkey sex has practically vanished except among the wild cousins. 

The turkeys Barbara raised from hatchlings still had their inbred ability to forage, fly, and survive, but they were all young and not quite sure how to go about mating,   Hence. Barbara’s possibly unseemly interest in turkey sex.  (She defends herself on the grounds that they don’t have cable tv. <g>)  That chapter alone was worth the price of the book.

Having grown up on a farm myself, and with a pretty good sized garden, too, I have a fairly good understanding of where food comes from, but fewer and fewer people have hands on experience of food production.  As a historical novelist, I can say it’s a great advantage to have been raised in farm country when one is writing about a 19th century agrarian society. 

Kingsolver and her family had to calculate how much food they would need to get through the hungry months of winter—and they came perilously close to running out of garlic.  Is there enough feed to get the livestock through until spring?  Younger daughter Lilly has a flock of chickens and an entrepreneurial streak foreign to the rest of the family, so they had their own supply of eggs.  But other supplies were running low by the end of the hungry season.

Heritage tomatoes Winter squashes keep well and taste delicious, but the first rhubarb of spring was a delight.  There was Kingsolver tomato sauce in cans and lots of produce in the freezer, including containers of pesto sauce made from their own basil crop.  Plus, the family had local sources of milk, and Barbara makes her own cheese. (Soft cheeses are dead simple, she says.) 

But even with their planning, the year was an education in growing food and eating it.  It’s a reminder of how life was for people in our historical romances (when a pineapple grown in a glasshouse was an amazing luxury), and for our own grandparents in many cases.  These days, a locavore who runs out of food can go to a well-stocked supermarket, but for pioneers on prairies, or in other remote areas, it was a very different matter.  Survival required constant attention and work.

The locavore movement wants to encourage people to eat locally because the savings in fuel for shipping food are enormous, and that’s becoming critical in these days of energy concerns.  Local food is usually fresher and tastier, too.  There are plenty of good reasons for becoming more aware of where our food comes from. 

Victory Garden In Britain, citizens were encouraged to plant “Victory Gardens” during WWII.  (Ironically, the population ate more healthily during the war than before or after.)  Gardening plots called allotments are common in Britain, with some people cultivating the same allotment for years.  Relaxing, fun, and saves money, too. 

Not everyone has a farm, or a desire to turn the back lawn into a garden.  (Though even apartment dwellers may be able to grow tomatoes or herbs on a balcony.)  But farmers’ markets are proliferating.  Once, there was maybe one in the Baltimore metro area where I live.  Now there are three within 15 minutes of my suburban home.  That’s not counting the farm stands that sell corn and tomatoes and fruit during the summer months. 

Personally, I think it’s worth paying a little more for quality food, and also supporting the hard working farmers who grow it.  The results are good for our bodies, for the land, and for the environment in general.  Plus, I grew up among Zucchini hard-working farmers, so this is an issue that has personal resonance for me.  (Not directly relevant, but Kingsolver mentions a Garrison Keillor story about how in Lake Wobegon, churchgoers lock the doors of their cars in the summer for fear of coming back and finding that boxes of zucchinis have been left inside. <G>)

I’m not about to become a full fledged locavore—I wouldn’t want to give up bananas, among other things.  But these days I’m more aware of where my food comes from, and more willing to go to a little extra effort to buy the fruit of local labors. 

I have friends who are pursuing the locavore life with considerable energy.  One who lives in a Philadelphia Main Line town has seriously considered where she might be able to raise chickens in her backyard. 

Another, Romance writer Val Taylor, became interested in local eating.  Since there didn’t seem to be a local food network in her Cincinnati area—she created one.  Her blog, Cincinnati Locavore, which “celebrates the Ohio Valley Foodshed,” is one of the top ranked blogs in the Cincinnati area.

Eating locally is an intriguing subject, one that is becoming more and more visible.  There’s lots of interesting information and sources out there.  In some places, it’s possible to buy produce shares from local farmers, which aids cash flow for the farmers, and produces regular box of fresh fruit and veg throughout the growing season.  If the box is mostly fresh beets—it’s motivation for learning new beet Beets recipes.  <g>  Other folks seek out markets that carry as much local produce as possible—or ask their own supermarket managers if more local food is available.

Are you a locavore?  An aspiring locavore?  Someone who hasn’t thought much about it, but may start making more of an effort to eat locally?  Or do you consider the microwave mankind’s highest achievement?  I'd love to know!

Mary Jo, who likes to eat from the edges of the supermarket, which is where the less processed foods tend to be located.

60 thoughts on “Living La Vida Locavore”

  1. This morning I heard a story on NPR that said new regulations go into effect today that certain foods must now state their place of origin — which should certainly be helpful if one wishes to buy as much locally produced food as possible.
    My husband and I have tried for the past two years to buy shares in one of the local farms, but the shares go faster than my electronic signals to the farm website when the sale opens. Unfortunately for gardening our own fruits and vegetables, our backyeard is very shady, so the choice is to cut down trees or buy elsewhere. It seems a bit perverse to remove the trees if our goal is to be greener, so we go to the various farm markets, which these days can be found even within the borders of the District of Columbia (and for which we are very grateful).

    Reply
  2. This morning I heard a story on NPR that said new regulations go into effect today that certain foods must now state their place of origin — which should certainly be helpful if one wishes to buy as much locally produced food as possible.
    My husband and I have tried for the past two years to buy shares in one of the local farms, but the shares go faster than my electronic signals to the farm website when the sale opens. Unfortunately for gardening our own fruits and vegetables, our backyeard is very shady, so the choice is to cut down trees or buy elsewhere. It seems a bit perverse to remove the trees if our goal is to be greener, so we go to the various farm markets, which these days can be found even within the borders of the District of Columbia (and for which we are very grateful).

    Reply
  3. This morning I heard a story on NPR that said new regulations go into effect today that certain foods must now state their place of origin — which should certainly be helpful if one wishes to buy as much locally produced food as possible.
    My husband and I have tried for the past two years to buy shares in one of the local farms, but the shares go faster than my electronic signals to the farm website when the sale opens. Unfortunately for gardening our own fruits and vegetables, our backyeard is very shady, so the choice is to cut down trees or buy elsewhere. It seems a bit perverse to remove the trees if our goal is to be greener, so we go to the various farm markets, which these days can be found even within the borders of the District of Columbia (and for which we are very grateful).

    Reply
  4. This morning I heard a story on NPR that said new regulations go into effect today that certain foods must now state their place of origin — which should certainly be helpful if one wishes to buy as much locally produced food as possible.
    My husband and I have tried for the past two years to buy shares in one of the local farms, but the shares go faster than my electronic signals to the farm website when the sale opens. Unfortunately for gardening our own fruits and vegetables, our backyeard is very shady, so the choice is to cut down trees or buy elsewhere. It seems a bit perverse to remove the trees if our goal is to be greener, so we go to the various farm markets, which these days can be found even within the borders of the District of Columbia (and for which we are very grateful).

    Reply
  5. This morning I heard a story on NPR that said new regulations go into effect today that certain foods must now state their place of origin — which should certainly be helpful if one wishes to buy as much locally produced food as possible.
    My husband and I have tried for the past two years to buy shares in one of the local farms, but the shares go faster than my electronic signals to the farm website when the sale opens. Unfortunately for gardening our own fruits and vegetables, our backyeard is very shady, so the choice is to cut down trees or buy elsewhere. It seems a bit perverse to remove the trees if our goal is to be greener, so we go to the various farm markets, which these days can be found even within the borders of the District of Columbia (and for which we are very grateful).

    Reply
  6. What an amazing experiment. The benefits to personal and planetary health of eating as locally as possible are clear to anyone who thinks about it even a little. BUT – and it’s big one, hence the caps – this is much easier done for people in some places than others. A couple of years ago, a well-known Hollywood actor came to town to promote the idea of not only local but uncooked. He may have had a bigger audience if he hadn’t been in a place that has ‘Ten months of winter, two months of bad skiing’ as its tongue-in-cheek motto.

    Reply
  7. What an amazing experiment. The benefits to personal and planetary health of eating as locally as possible are clear to anyone who thinks about it even a little. BUT – and it’s big one, hence the caps – this is much easier done for people in some places than others. A couple of years ago, a well-known Hollywood actor came to town to promote the idea of not only local but uncooked. He may have had a bigger audience if he hadn’t been in a place that has ‘Ten months of winter, two months of bad skiing’ as its tongue-in-cheek motto.

    Reply
  8. What an amazing experiment. The benefits to personal and planetary health of eating as locally as possible are clear to anyone who thinks about it even a little. BUT – and it’s big one, hence the caps – this is much easier done for people in some places than others. A couple of years ago, a well-known Hollywood actor came to town to promote the idea of not only local but uncooked. He may have had a bigger audience if he hadn’t been in a place that has ‘Ten months of winter, two months of bad skiing’ as its tongue-in-cheek motto.

    Reply
  9. What an amazing experiment. The benefits to personal and planetary health of eating as locally as possible are clear to anyone who thinks about it even a little. BUT – and it’s big one, hence the caps – this is much easier done for people in some places than others. A couple of years ago, a well-known Hollywood actor came to town to promote the idea of not only local but uncooked. He may have had a bigger audience if he hadn’t been in a place that has ‘Ten months of winter, two months of bad skiing’ as its tongue-in-cheek motto.

    Reply
  10. What an amazing experiment. The benefits to personal and planetary health of eating as locally as possible are clear to anyone who thinks about it even a little. BUT – and it’s big one, hence the caps – this is much easier done for people in some places than others. A couple of years ago, a well-known Hollywood actor came to town to promote the idea of not only local but uncooked. He may have had a bigger audience if he hadn’t been in a place that has ‘Ten months of winter, two months of bad skiing’ as its tongue-in-cheek motto.

    Reply
  11. From MJP:
    Susan/DC, it’s encouraging for the farm share market that they sell out so quickly! Here’s hoping that more small farmers start this kind of production. It’s a good way to keep small farms alive as well as giving city dwellers access to the freshest possible produce. Until there are more farms selling shares–as you say, we have the farmers’ markets.
    Maya, you’re absolutely right that locavore living isn’t practical in many places. Kingsolver lived in good farm country (and she and her family worked HARD), and even so, there were certainly things that simply weren’t available locally.
    I think that it would be nice to see a food distribution system that encouraged local, organic produce, but also shipped foods longer distances as necessary.
    For a couple of years, several local markets were carrying fabulous breads from an artisan bakery in California. It was great bread, but 3000 miles is a long way for a loaf to travel. The spike in fuel prices last year changed that. Stay tuned…
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  12. From MJP:
    Susan/DC, it’s encouraging for the farm share market that they sell out so quickly! Here’s hoping that more small farmers start this kind of production. It’s a good way to keep small farms alive as well as giving city dwellers access to the freshest possible produce. Until there are more farms selling shares–as you say, we have the farmers’ markets.
    Maya, you’re absolutely right that locavore living isn’t practical in many places. Kingsolver lived in good farm country (and she and her family worked HARD), and even so, there were certainly things that simply weren’t available locally.
    I think that it would be nice to see a food distribution system that encouraged local, organic produce, but also shipped foods longer distances as necessary.
    For a couple of years, several local markets were carrying fabulous breads from an artisan bakery in California. It was great bread, but 3000 miles is a long way for a loaf to travel. The spike in fuel prices last year changed that. Stay tuned…
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  13. From MJP:
    Susan/DC, it’s encouraging for the farm share market that they sell out so quickly! Here’s hoping that more small farmers start this kind of production. It’s a good way to keep small farms alive as well as giving city dwellers access to the freshest possible produce. Until there are more farms selling shares–as you say, we have the farmers’ markets.
    Maya, you’re absolutely right that locavore living isn’t practical in many places. Kingsolver lived in good farm country (and she and her family worked HARD), and even so, there were certainly things that simply weren’t available locally.
    I think that it would be nice to see a food distribution system that encouraged local, organic produce, but also shipped foods longer distances as necessary.
    For a couple of years, several local markets were carrying fabulous breads from an artisan bakery in California. It was great bread, but 3000 miles is a long way for a loaf to travel. The spike in fuel prices last year changed that. Stay tuned…
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  14. From MJP:
    Susan/DC, it’s encouraging for the farm share market that they sell out so quickly! Here’s hoping that more small farmers start this kind of production. It’s a good way to keep small farms alive as well as giving city dwellers access to the freshest possible produce. Until there are more farms selling shares–as you say, we have the farmers’ markets.
    Maya, you’re absolutely right that locavore living isn’t practical in many places. Kingsolver lived in good farm country (and she and her family worked HARD), and even so, there were certainly things that simply weren’t available locally.
    I think that it would be nice to see a food distribution system that encouraged local, organic produce, but also shipped foods longer distances as necessary.
    For a couple of years, several local markets were carrying fabulous breads from an artisan bakery in California. It was great bread, but 3000 miles is a long way for a loaf to travel. The spike in fuel prices last year changed that. Stay tuned…
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  15. From MJP:
    Susan/DC, it’s encouraging for the farm share market that they sell out so quickly! Here’s hoping that more small farmers start this kind of production. It’s a good way to keep small farms alive as well as giving city dwellers access to the freshest possible produce. Until there are more farms selling shares–as you say, we have the farmers’ markets.
    Maya, you’re absolutely right that locavore living isn’t practical in many places. Kingsolver lived in good farm country (and she and her family worked HARD), and even so, there were certainly things that simply weren’t available locally.
    I think that it would be nice to see a food distribution system that encouraged local, organic produce, but also shipped foods longer distances as necessary.
    For a couple of years, several local markets were carrying fabulous breads from an artisan bakery in California. It was great bread, but 3000 miles is a long way for a loaf to travel. The spike in fuel prices last year changed that. Stay tuned…
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  16. Mary Jo, this is one of my favorite blogs of yours–entertaining and informative. I’m not a committed locavore, but I do raise a lot of my own food. I have plum, prune, pear, and apple trees, and each year I grow a veggie garden. There is nothing more wonderful than a bowl of homegrown, steamed Brussels sprouts with butter and salt and pepper. Sometimes that is my entire meal.
    Here in the Pacific NW we have lots and lots of farmers markets, and vendors often give out family recipes when you make a purchase. Double bonus!
    The comment about zucchinis had me laughing. I used to have a neighbor who put his humongous zucchinis in everyone’s mailboxes when they were at work. The things were so big you couldn’t close the door on the mailbox. It looked hilarious to come home from work and see the row of mailboxes out on the road, each with a gigantic zucchini poking out.
    The mail lady said it was against the law, so he resorted to leaving them on your doorstep. *g*

    Reply
  17. Mary Jo, this is one of my favorite blogs of yours–entertaining and informative. I’m not a committed locavore, but I do raise a lot of my own food. I have plum, prune, pear, and apple trees, and each year I grow a veggie garden. There is nothing more wonderful than a bowl of homegrown, steamed Brussels sprouts with butter and salt and pepper. Sometimes that is my entire meal.
    Here in the Pacific NW we have lots and lots of farmers markets, and vendors often give out family recipes when you make a purchase. Double bonus!
    The comment about zucchinis had me laughing. I used to have a neighbor who put his humongous zucchinis in everyone’s mailboxes when they were at work. The things were so big you couldn’t close the door on the mailbox. It looked hilarious to come home from work and see the row of mailboxes out on the road, each with a gigantic zucchini poking out.
    The mail lady said it was against the law, so he resorted to leaving them on your doorstep. *g*

    Reply
  18. Mary Jo, this is one of my favorite blogs of yours–entertaining and informative. I’m not a committed locavore, but I do raise a lot of my own food. I have plum, prune, pear, and apple trees, and each year I grow a veggie garden. There is nothing more wonderful than a bowl of homegrown, steamed Brussels sprouts with butter and salt and pepper. Sometimes that is my entire meal.
    Here in the Pacific NW we have lots and lots of farmers markets, and vendors often give out family recipes when you make a purchase. Double bonus!
    The comment about zucchinis had me laughing. I used to have a neighbor who put his humongous zucchinis in everyone’s mailboxes when they were at work. The things were so big you couldn’t close the door on the mailbox. It looked hilarious to come home from work and see the row of mailboxes out on the road, each with a gigantic zucchini poking out.
    The mail lady said it was against the law, so he resorted to leaving them on your doorstep. *g*

    Reply
  19. Mary Jo, this is one of my favorite blogs of yours–entertaining and informative. I’m not a committed locavore, but I do raise a lot of my own food. I have plum, prune, pear, and apple trees, and each year I grow a veggie garden. There is nothing more wonderful than a bowl of homegrown, steamed Brussels sprouts with butter and salt and pepper. Sometimes that is my entire meal.
    Here in the Pacific NW we have lots and lots of farmers markets, and vendors often give out family recipes when you make a purchase. Double bonus!
    The comment about zucchinis had me laughing. I used to have a neighbor who put his humongous zucchinis in everyone’s mailboxes when they were at work. The things were so big you couldn’t close the door on the mailbox. It looked hilarious to come home from work and see the row of mailboxes out on the road, each with a gigantic zucchini poking out.
    The mail lady said it was against the law, so he resorted to leaving them on your doorstep. *g*

    Reply
  20. Mary Jo, this is one of my favorite blogs of yours–entertaining and informative. I’m not a committed locavore, but I do raise a lot of my own food. I have plum, prune, pear, and apple trees, and each year I grow a veggie garden. There is nothing more wonderful than a bowl of homegrown, steamed Brussels sprouts with butter and salt and pepper. Sometimes that is my entire meal.
    Here in the Pacific NW we have lots and lots of farmers markets, and vendors often give out family recipes when you make a purchase. Double bonus!
    The comment about zucchinis had me laughing. I used to have a neighbor who put his humongous zucchinis in everyone’s mailboxes when they were at work. The things were so big you couldn’t close the door on the mailbox. It looked hilarious to come home from work and see the row of mailboxes out on the road, each with a gigantic zucchini poking out.
    The mail lady said it was against the law, so he resorted to leaving them on your doorstep. *g*

    Reply
  21. It seems a bit odd — after all, spices were widely exported and imported already during the Middle Ages, coffee and chocolate were imported into Europe by the 1600s, with tea coming in significant quantities shortly thereafter.
    I grew up in the 1940s on my grandparents’ farm. We grew a lot of what we ate, but I’m prepared to assure everyone that good cheese, bananas, grapefruit, oranges, and other more remotely cultivated items were a truly welcome addition to the dinner table.
    This project sounds like it’s more connected to ideology than to nutrition.

    Reply
  22. It seems a bit odd — after all, spices were widely exported and imported already during the Middle Ages, coffee and chocolate were imported into Europe by the 1600s, with tea coming in significant quantities shortly thereafter.
    I grew up in the 1940s on my grandparents’ farm. We grew a lot of what we ate, but I’m prepared to assure everyone that good cheese, bananas, grapefruit, oranges, and other more remotely cultivated items were a truly welcome addition to the dinner table.
    This project sounds like it’s more connected to ideology than to nutrition.

    Reply
  23. It seems a bit odd — after all, spices were widely exported and imported already during the Middle Ages, coffee and chocolate were imported into Europe by the 1600s, with tea coming in significant quantities shortly thereafter.
    I grew up in the 1940s on my grandparents’ farm. We grew a lot of what we ate, but I’m prepared to assure everyone that good cheese, bananas, grapefruit, oranges, and other more remotely cultivated items were a truly welcome addition to the dinner table.
    This project sounds like it’s more connected to ideology than to nutrition.

    Reply
  24. It seems a bit odd — after all, spices were widely exported and imported already during the Middle Ages, coffee and chocolate were imported into Europe by the 1600s, with tea coming in significant quantities shortly thereafter.
    I grew up in the 1940s on my grandparents’ farm. We grew a lot of what we ate, but I’m prepared to assure everyone that good cheese, bananas, grapefruit, oranges, and other more remotely cultivated items were a truly welcome addition to the dinner table.
    This project sounds like it’s more connected to ideology than to nutrition.

    Reply
  25. It seems a bit odd — after all, spices were widely exported and imported already during the Middle Ages, coffee and chocolate were imported into Europe by the 1600s, with tea coming in significant quantities shortly thereafter.
    I grew up in the 1940s on my grandparents’ farm. We grew a lot of what we ate, but I’m prepared to assure everyone that good cheese, bananas, grapefruit, oranges, and other more remotely cultivated items were a truly welcome addition to the dinner table.
    This project sounds like it’s more connected to ideology than to nutrition.

    Reply
  26. I loved this book! I’ve always loved Kingsolver’s writing anyway, but this was funny and informative and oh so rich. I’d already made adjustments to my food purchasing habits before I read the book, but it inspired me to make some more changes that are beneficial to me, and the planet. A win-win.

    Reply
  27. I loved this book! I’ve always loved Kingsolver’s writing anyway, but this was funny and informative and oh so rich. I’d already made adjustments to my food purchasing habits before I read the book, but it inspired me to make some more changes that are beneficial to me, and the planet. A win-win.

    Reply
  28. I loved this book! I’ve always loved Kingsolver’s writing anyway, but this was funny and informative and oh so rich. I’d already made adjustments to my food purchasing habits before I read the book, but it inspired me to make some more changes that are beneficial to me, and the planet. A win-win.

    Reply
  29. I loved this book! I’ve always loved Kingsolver’s writing anyway, but this was funny and informative and oh so rich. I’d already made adjustments to my food purchasing habits before I read the book, but it inspired me to make some more changes that are beneficial to me, and the planet. A win-win.

    Reply
  30. I loved this book! I’ve always loved Kingsolver’s writing anyway, but this was funny and informative and oh so rich. I’d already made adjustments to my food purchasing habits before I read the book, but it inspired me to make some more changes that are beneficial to me, and the planet. A win-win.

    Reply
  31. From MJP:
    Sherrie, I’m laughing at the image of all the gigantic zucchini sticking out of the mail boxes. When they’re that large, they aren’t good for much except batting practice. 🙂
    **It seems a bit odd — after all, spices were widely exported and imported already during the Middle Ages, coffee and chocolate were imported into Europe by the 1600s, with tea coming in significant quantities shortly thereafter.**
    You’re absolutely right, Virginia–the quest for exotic and delicious foodstuffs was a major impetus for the great age of exploration. (I did a blog on spices once that mentioned it.)
    And you’re right that there is an ideological component, but I suspect that at most, only a few hard core ideogologues would imagine that full locavore living will ever catch on, or even be possible. Not going to happen. Barbara Kingsolver didn’t try that, either–from the beginning, she and her family made some well defined exceptions.
    Still, there’s a difference between shipping small, high-value products like nutmegs around the world, and shipping berries from Chile in December.
    From what I can see, a lot of the interest in locavore-ism is from people like Carol and me, interested in making more thoughtful choices about what we eat, and reducing the carbon footprint. But not eliminating it altogether.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  32. From MJP:
    Sherrie, I’m laughing at the image of all the gigantic zucchini sticking out of the mail boxes. When they’re that large, they aren’t good for much except batting practice. 🙂
    **It seems a bit odd — after all, spices were widely exported and imported already during the Middle Ages, coffee and chocolate were imported into Europe by the 1600s, with tea coming in significant quantities shortly thereafter.**
    You’re absolutely right, Virginia–the quest for exotic and delicious foodstuffs was a major impetus for the great age of exploration. (I did a blog on spices once that mentioned it.)
    And you’re right that there is an ideological component, but I suspect that at most, only a few hard core ideogologues would imagine that full locavore living will ever catch on, or even be possible. Not going to happen. Barbara Kingsolver didn’t try that, either–from the beginning, she and her family made some well defined exceptions.
    Still, there’s a difference between shipping small, high-value products like nutmegs around the world, and shipping berries from Chile in December.
    From what I can see, a lot of the interest in locavore-ism is from people like Carol and me, interested in making more thoughtful choices about what we eat, and reducing the carbon footprint. But not eliminating it altogether.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  33. From MJP:
    Sherrie, I’m laughing at the image of all the gigantic zucchini sticking out of the mail boxes. When they’re that large, they aren’t good for much except batting practice. 🙂
    **It seems a bit odd — after all, spices were widely exported and imported already during the Middle Ages, coffee and chocolate were imported into Europe by the 1600s, with tea coming in significant quantities shortly thereafter.**
    You’re absolutely right, Virginia–the quest for exotic and delicious foodstuffs was a major impetus for the great age of exploration. (I did a blog on spices once that mentioned it.)
    And you’re right that there is an ideological component, but I suspect that at most, only a few hard core ideogologues would imagine that full locavore living will ever catch on, or even be possible. Not going to happen. Barbara Kingsolver didn’t try that, either–from the beginning, she and her family made some well defined exceptions.
    Still, there’s a difference between shipping small, high-value products like nutmegs around the world, and shipping berries from Chile in December.
    From what I can see, a lot of the interest in locavore-ism is from people like Carol and me, interested in making more thoughtful choices about what we eat, and reducing the carbon footprint. But not eliminating it altogether.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  34. From MJP:
    Sherrie, I’m laughing at the image of all the gigantic zucchini sticking out of the mail boxes. When they’re that large, they aren’t good for much except batting practice. 🙂
    **It seems a bit odd — after all, spices were widely exported and imported already during the Middle Ages, coffee and chocolate were imported into Europe by the 1600s, with tea coming in significant quantities shortly thereafter.**
    You’re absolutely right, Virginia–the quest for exotic and delicious foodstuffs was a major impetus for the great age of exploration. (I did a blog on spices once that mentioned it.)
    And you’re right that there is an ideological component, but I suspect that at most, only a few hard core ideogologues would imagine that full locavore living will ever catch on, or even be possible. Not going to happen. Barbara Kingsolver didn’t try that, either–from the beginning, she and her family made some well defined exceptions.
    Still, there’s a difference between shipping small, high-value products like nutmegs around the world, and shipping berries from Chile in December.
    From what I can see, a lot of the interest in locavore-ism is from people like Carol and me, interested in making more thoughtful choices about what we eat, and reducing the carbon footprint. But not eliminating it altogether.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  35. From MJP:
    Sherrie, I’m laughing at the image of all the gigantic zucchini sticking out of the mail boxes. When they’re that large, they aren’t good for much except batting practice. 🙂
    **It seems a bit odd — after all, spices were widely exported and imported already during the Middle Ages, coffee and chocolate were imported into Europe by the 1600s, with tea coming in significant quantities shortly thereafter.**
    You’re absolutely right, Virginia–the quest for exotic and delicious foodstuffs was a major impetus for the great age of exploration. (I did a blog on spices once that mentioned it.)
    And you’re right that there is an ideological component, but I suspect that at most, only a few hard core ideogologues would imagine that full locavore living will ever catch on, or even be possible. Not going to happen. Barbara Kingsolver didn’t try that, either–from the beginning, she and her family made some well defined exceptions.
    Still, there’s a difference between shipping small, high-value products like nutmegs around the world, and shipping berries from Chile in December.
    From what I can see, a lot of the interest in locavore-ism is from people like Carol and me, interested in making more thoughtful choices about what we eat, and reducing the carbon footprint. But not eliminating it altogether.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  36. The best way to deal with a giant zucchini is to cut it in half lengthwise and then run a spoon down each half to partly hollow it out and create a little trench and then you part cook both halves so they are a little soft and then you fill the trench with leftovers like bolognaise or spicy sausage chopped up or salsa or sweat some bacon & onion & tomato and then you season and sprinkle grated cheese over it and stick it under the griller till the cheese melts.
    Love the post, BTW. There is also a movement afoot and has been for a while called Slow Food. Can’t recall the fellows name but he aims for people to eat local produce as much as they can and to buy fair trade food because Agribusiness is destroying local culture and old varieties as much as healthy eating by artificially creating demand for a single non indigenous or genetically engineered thing to be grown in areas where there were once self supporting villages growing five varieties of native maize (for example)now leaving these villages vulnerable to a small shift in stock trading alone. The people end up impoverished with nothing to eat but a whole bunch of maize that has only half the taste & nutrition of what they once grew.
    Sorry, didn’t mean that post to be so long.

    Reply
  37. The best way to deal with a giant zucchini is to cut it in half lengthwise and then run a spoon down each half to partly hollow it out and create a little trench and then you part cook both halves so they are a little soft and then you fill the trench with leftovers like bolognaise or spicy sausage chopped up or salsa or sweat some bacon & onion & tomato and then you season and sprinkle grated cheese over it and stick it under the griller till the cheese melts.
    Love the post, BTW. There is also a movement afoot and has been for a while called Slow Food. Can’t recall the fellows name but he aims for people to eat local produce as much as they can and to buy fair trade food because Agribusiness is destroying local culture and old varieties as much as healthy eating by artificially creating demand for a single non indigenous or genetically engineered thing to be grown in areas where there were once self supporting villages growing five varieties of native maize (for example)now leaving these villages vulnerable to a small shift in stock trading alone. The people end up impoverished with nothing to eat but a whole bunch of maize that has only half the taste & nutrition of what they once grew.
    Sorry, didn’t mean that post to be so long.

    Reply
  38. The best way to deal with a giant zucchini is to cut it in half lengthwise and then run a spoon down each half to partly hollow it out and create a little trench and then you part cook both halves so they are a little soft and then you fill the trench with leftovers like bolognaise or spicy sausage chopped up or salsa or sweat some bacon & onion & tomato and then you season and sprinkle grated cheese over it and stick it under the griller till the cheese melts.
    Love the post, BTW. There is also a movement afoot and has been for a while called Slow Food. Can’t recall the fellows name but he aims for people to eat local produce as much as they can and to buy fair trade food because Agribusiness is destroying local culture and old varieties as much as healthy eating by artificially creating demand for a single non indigenous or genetically engineered thing to be grown in areas where there were once self supporting villages growing five varieties of native maize (for example)now leaving these villages vulnerable to a small shift in stock trading alone. The people end up impoverished with nothing to eat but a whole bunch of maize that has only half the taste & nutrition of what they once grew.
    Sorry, didn’t mean that post to be so long.

    Reply
  39. The best way to deal with a giant zucchini is to cut it in half lengthwise and then run a spoon down each half to partly hollow it out and create a little trench and then you part cook both halves so they are a little soft and then you fill the trench with leftovers like bolognaise or spicy sausage chopped up or salsa or sweat some bacon & onion & tomato and then you season and sprinkle grated cheese over it and stick it under the griller till the cheese melts.
    Love the post, BTW. There is also a movement afoot and has been for a while called Slow Food. Can’t recall the fellows name but he aims for people to eat local produce as much as they can and to buy fair trade food because Agribusiness is destroying local culture and old varieties as much as healthy eating by artificially creating demand for a single non indigenous or genetically engineered thing to be grown in areas where there were once self supporting villages growing five varieties of native maize (for example)now leaving these villages vulnerable to a small shift in stock trading alone. The people end up impoverished with nothing to eat but a whole bunch of maize that has only half the taste & nutrition of what they once grew.
    Sorry, didn’t mean that post to be so long.

    Reply
  40. The best way to deal with a giant zucchini is to cut it in half lengthwise and then run a spoon down each half to partly hollow it out and create a little trench and then you part cook both halves so they are a little soft and then you fill the trench with leftovers like bolognaise or spicy sausage chopped up or salsa or sweat some bacon & onion & tomato and then you season and sprinkle grated cheese over it and stick it under the griller till the cheese melts.
    Love the post, BTW. There is also a movement afoot and has been for a while called Slow Food. Can’t recall the fellows name but he aims for people to eat local produce as much as they can and to buy fair trade food because Agribusiness is destroying local culture and old varieties as much as healthy eating by artificially creating demand for a single non indigenous or genetically engineered thing to be grown in areas where there were once self supporting villages growing five varieties of native maize (for example)now leaving these villages vulnerable to a small shift in stock trading alone. The people end up impoverished with nothing to eat but a whole bunch of maize that has only half the taste & nutrition of what they once grew.
    Sorry, didn’t mean that post to be so long.

    Reply
  41. From MJP:
    Alison, the zucchini stuffing suggestions sound lovely, though squash large enough to stick out of mailboxes might not be good for anything except batting practice.
    I first ran into the idea of “Slow Food” on the Greek island of Santorini in 2003. A restaurant had a bas relief of an elegant snail set into its wall, with the words “Slow Food” below (in English.) I thought it was a delightful, individual idea. Only later did I find that it was a movement. A good, slow movement. 🙂
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  42. From MJP:
    Alison, the zucchini stuffing suggestions sound lovely, though squash large enough to stick out of mailboxes might not be good for anything except batting practice.
    I first ran into the idea of “Slow Food” on the Greek island of Santorini in 2003. A restaurant had a bas relief of an elegant snail set into its wall, with the words “Slow Food” below (in English.) I thought it was a delightful, individual idea. Only later did I find that it was a movement. A good, slow movement. 🙂
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  43. From MJP:
    Alison, the zucchini stuffing suggestions sound lovely, though squash large enough to stick out of mailboxes might not be good for anything except batting practice.
    I first ran into the idea of “Slow Food” on the Greek island of Santorini in 2003. A restaurant had a bas relief of an elegant snail set into its wall, with the words “Slow Food” below (in English.) I thought it was a delightful, individual idea. Only later did I find that it was a movement. A good, slow movement. 🙂
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  44. From MJP:
    Alison, the zucchini stuffing suggestions sound lovely, though squash large enough to stick out of mailboxes might not be good for anything except batting practice.
    I first ran into the idea of “Slow Food” on the Greek island of Santorini in 2003. A restaurant had a bas relief of an elegant snail set into its wall, with the words “Slow Food” below (in English.) I thought it was a delightful, individual idea. Only later did I find that it was a movement. A good, slow movement. 🙂
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  45. From MJP:
    Alison, the zucchini stuffing suggestions sound lovely, though squash large enough to stick out of mailboxes might not be good for anything except batting practice.
    I first ran into the idea of “Slow Food” on the Greek island of Santorini in 2003. A restaurant had a bas relief of an elegant snail set into its wall, with the words “Slow Food” below (in English.) I thought it was a delightful, individual idea. Only later did I find that it was a movement. A good, slow movement. 🙂
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  46. Really interesting post. It made me smile because it reminded me of the BritCom from many years ago “Good Neighbors”.
    Living in a row house in Philadelphia occupied by three working full time adults makes all this virtually impossible- I’d increase the carbon footprint more by the amount of gasoline I’d use to get to a farmer’s marker and I sure can’t grow my own anything. But it is an interesting concept.

    Reply
  47. Really interesting post. It made me smile because it reminded me of the BritCom from many years ago “Good Neighbors”.
    Living in a row house in Philadelphia occupied by three working full time adults makes all this virtually impossible- I’d increase the carbon footprint more by the amount of gasoline I’d use to get to a farmer’s marker and I sure can’t grow my own anything. But it is an interesting concept.

    Reply
  48. Really interesting post. It made me smile because it reminded me of the BritCom from many years ago “Good Neighbors”.
    Living in a row house in Philadelphia occupied by three working full time adults makes all this virtually impossible- I’d increase the carbon footprint more by the amount of gasoline I’d use to get to a farmer’s marker and I sure can’t grow my own anything. But it is an interesting concept.

    Reply
  49. Really interesting post. It made me smile because it reminded me of the BritCom from many years ago “Good Neighbors”.
    Living in a row house in Philadelphia occupied by three working full time adults makes all this virtually impossible- I’d increase the carbon footprint more by the amount of gasoline I’d use to get to a farmer’s marker and I sure can’t grow my own anything. But it is an interesting concept.

    Reply
  50. Really interesting post. It made me smile because it reminded me of the BritCom from many years ago “Good Neighbors”.
    Living in a row house in Philadelphia occupied by three working full time adults makes all this virtually impossible- I’d increase the carbon footprint more by the amount of gasoline I’d use to get to a farmer’s marker and I sure can’t grow my own anything. But it is an interesting concept.

    Reply
  51. From MJP:
    While there are more farmers’ markets than there were, they’re still far from convenient to everyone. But Kingsolver’s book is worth reading because it’s fun, and it does make one think differently about food. I find this worthwhile because I like thinking about food. “)
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  52. From MJP:
    While there are more farmers’ markets than there were, they’re still far from convenient to everyone. But Kingsolver’s book is worth reading because it’s fun, and it does make one think differently about food. I find this worthwhile because I like thinking about food. “)
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  53. From MJP:
    While there are more farmers’ markets than there were, they’re still far from convenient to everyone. But Kingsolver’s book is worth reading because it’s fun, and it does make one think differently about food. I find this worthwhile because I like thinking about food. “)
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  54. From MJP:
    While there are more farmers’ markets than there were, they’re still far from convenient to everyone. But Kingsolver’s book is worth reading because it’s fun, and it does make one think differently about food. I find this worthwhile because I like thinking about food. “)
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  55. From MJP:
    While there are more farmers’ markets than there were, they’re still far from convenient to everyone. But Kingsolver’s book is worth reading because it’s fun, and it does make one think differently about food. I find this worthwhile because I like thinking about food. “)
    Mary Jo

    Reply

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