Wednesday, March 26, 2008

local eating confabulation

michelle and her husband, dion, wanted to take us snowboarding today. heights, snow and i do not mix. even the promise of sharing the slopes of vail with the likes of cameron diaz was not enticement enough. so, i have been left to my own devices, giving me the opportunity to 'riff' about local eating.
the movement towards eating local came as kind of a surprise to me. i have spent years globalizing my eats, developing tastes for indian, mediterrean, thai, etc. this is what being a worldly and well informed eater meant. hometown cuisine, farmers, grits, were all things to be scoffed at and disregarded as plebeian.
enter the eating local fad. similar to the arts and crafts movement of the 19th century, which attempted to retrieve the soul lost in the machine-made production of the industrial revolution, local eating strives to recapture the soul of eating: restore the seasonality, bring greater appreciation to production, and reduce the strains to the environment a global dinner plate causes. this is beyond organic. this is knowing your food and where it came from, and enjoying your local community on a different level. kind of makes you want to host a barn-raising.
eating local presented me with several questions. first- what radius is considered 'local'? half a day's drive? 100 miles? i'm still not sure, but i have commonly seen the 100 mile figure. secondly, what diversity of food grows in ohio? i think green bean casserole has been known to grow wild, but i am uncertain about what else is attainable. when i was a kid, we used to go to 'the farm'. it was a local farmer who sold seasonal fruits and corn and gave away free barn kittens to any willing child. when i questioned my mom about it, she said she thought they didn't sell anymore. there is always findlay market to consider. i have unfortunately not been able to schedule a visit yet. going to kroger's (esp. since i work in the pharmacy there) is so much easier. which brings me to another point - eating local takes a level of dedication. most people do not have the willingness or time to devote to scouring cincinnati for local sources of food. i have been told there are services that send you information of local eating resources; however, a quick google search was unfruitful, at least for cincinnati. luckily, beth found someone to do the scouring for us:
i do want to give local eating a go, especially since in michael pollan's 'the omnivore's dilemma', he provided me with a solution to one of my other deterrents - i really like some foods that i am not going to find locally produced in cincinnati. he talks briefly about the concept of 'foodshed'. basically, it is ok to trade for products not able to be locally produced, something mankind has been doing for thousands of years. this does seem a bit conflicted, however, and i think i may be oversimplifying. i need to do some more research.
years ago in college, i was privileged to visit the hometown of my very good friend and at the time roommate, crystal. crystal is from a small town in southeastern ohio right near bob evans' original farm. in fact, her family used to get a christmas card from bob evans himself. crystal's dad hunts and her mom has a fantastic garden. at the time, i did not appreciate what i was witnessing. i was particularly appalled by the bucket of beheaded, skinned squirrels in the refrigerator. however, what urbanites are striving to do today is something crystal's parents and other people in their town have been doing forever. they know the value of using the land around them to its fullest potential. i wonder if they realize how trendy they are?

some resources:

on the reading list:
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle : A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver, Steven L. Hopp, Camille Kingsolver, Camille Kingsolver, Steven L. Hopp

Plenty : One Man, One Woman, and a Raucous Year of Eating Locally by Alisa Smith, J. B. MacKinnon, J. B. Mackinnon

Eat Local Farm Tour April 5, 2008
The Greater Cincinnati Master Gardener’s Association and Findlay Market are sponsoring a fun filled day of learning about how we can eat locally. Your guides will share their knowledge and resources on your opportunities for supporting local agriculture.
The group then travels to Grailville to visit an environmental, education and retreat center. Activities will include a tour of the organic farm, attendance at the Holistic Health Fair and lunch, prepared using all locally grown ingredients.
In the afternoon, the group will visit Turner Farm, a Findlay Market farmers market vendor, and CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) site. The group will tour Turner’s growing operation and be able to purchase produce from their store.
The tour group will return to Findlay Market by 4:00pm.
For more information and to sign up for the tour, contact Bobbi Strangfeld at 513.948.1071.

1 comment:

valereee said...

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