Our Slow Slide Into Eating Local

When did the local eating – which now seems entirely normal –  begin? Was it our time in Bolivia, when local was mostly the only  food we had? Was it with that first North Carolina peach eagerly awaited and lovingly described by my then fiance (and now husband) as we drove from Chicago to Ocracoke, and then consumed in one delicious minute? Was it when we lived in Southern California and bags of oranges awaited us at the weekly market? Who knows? All of these experiences, and many others, feed our now routine local habit.

Since we have returned to Northern Virginia, we have slowly but surely replaced much of what we eat with locally sourced food.

We started out with the farmer’s market. Produce and bread were our main purchases. Berries, apples, asparagus, and peaches were eagerly anticipated and rapidly consumed.

This initial entre was accompanied by a vegetable and herb garden of our own. Tomatoes were the primary focus here.

We began to purchase bacon at the market and slowly purchased more and more of our meat from the market.

Next up was the CSA. Weekly produce deliveries of what was most bountiful. After an underwhelming start, we now rely on the CSA from June through November. The CSA has expanded our produce comsumption and we now look forward to garlic scapes, butternut squash, and bok choy!
Then our local beer garden and market added a local butcher. Now I could get local beer AND meat – my husband couldn’t have been happier – and we discovered a new (and expensive!) love of hanger steak.

And at the beginning of this year we started to have our milk, eggs, and butter delivered. And we soon discovered that we could have milk and cheese and cider delivered too.

So now it seems that NOT eating with a local emphasis requires substantial effort. Tonight linguine with pesto from our garden and a salad from the farmer’s market, last night sausages from the dairy and roasted cauliflower from the farmer’s market, the night before homemade chicken noodle soup made with a hen who used to lay eggs for our dairy and a multitude of vegetables from our CSA….and so it goes.

What might be next?

Have you followed a similar journey to making local food a centerpiece of your diet?

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5 Comments to “Our Slow Slide Into Eating Local”

  1. I’m on a similar path! In my neck of the woods, eating locally is easy during the summer and early fall, but now that winter is dawning, I’m not sure what I’m going to do. Next year I plan to expand the garden and learn to can and preserve food, but this year, I may resort to the grocery store for some fresh produce. I abhor the grocery store and try to avoid it at all costs. Luckily, a large Amish community lives only about an hour from my house, so i can head over to their markets and buy some canned goods. What do you eat in the winter?

    • Glad you stopped by Rachel! The local path has been fun for us. We are fortunate in that all of our local food sources – farmer’s market, butcher shop, and dairy are year-round. So our produce consumption shifts to reflect our local sources — fruit is something where we really notice it. Apples are about all you can get in the winter around here – so we supplement with citrus and grapes from the grocery store – which we can never get local here! We also rely on preserves from our farmers for our berry fixes. Other summer only purchases are tomatoes and summer squashes. But I am actually amazed at how long the growing season is in the greater DC area – we don’t ever feel deprived!

      • I’m learning as I go and realizing it’ll get easier and easier to eat locally year round. I just need to keep discovering local farms and markets! And of course, get over my disgust of the grocery store and buy some necessities there. 😉 Thanks again for a great post!

  2. We are on a similar path although I’ve lost a little ground this year. My husband has been doing the shopping and I need to work to convince him that our local foodshed is available and that we need to support it.

    • I agree that getting the family on board is the hardest part. While my husband is totally okay with the notion of buying high quality bacon, in season tomatoes, and fresh from the tree peaches, he does wonder why I buy staples at the market…onions, he’ll say? and garlic? But we have discovered so many new delicious items at the market that his comments have become less frequent. Good luck with bringing yours along on the journey.

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