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Wake Up and Smell the Lightly Sprayed Pesticides

July 10, 2007

Big food things have been happening that I need to tell you, but don’t worry, I am still committed to getting my Vancouver food pics up on the blog as soon as I can figure it out. 

My Pacific Northwest trip has resulted in two major dietary/culinary life changes:

1.  I have decided that locally grown food shall now take precedence over organically grown food.  Portlanders, Vancouverans, and Seattlites all maintain a deep commitment to fresh, local food, and I loved it.  Sometimes, in the dead of winter, when all you want is a mango, maybe you should ask yourself, are mangos growing in my state or region in February?  Probably not.   I will turn to the wisdom of the Rolling Stones who famously reminded us that “you can’t always get what you wa-ant.”  How will I accomplish this local food endeavor in the middle of February?  I’ll tell you. 

After finishing Barbara Kingsolver’s new book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, a good friend of mine was equally inspired and so in mid- August we are going to have a canning party!  Tomatoes, beans, maybe even mangos.   I also plan to pickle many things, including:

cucumbers, turnips, onions, beans, beets, cauliflower, carrots, and rutabagas.

What else would be good pickled, or canned? 

 Also, we are now shopping for vegetables, fruit and eggs exclusively at farmer’s markets.  I am already part of a CSA with Sugar Creek Farm.  I would link you to their website, but they don’t have a website.  They don’t have electricity.  What they do have, however, is some of the freshest, crispiest, and most flavorful spring mix I have ever tasted. 

So, after a weekend trip to the WNC Farmer’s market, for lunch today I had a pita with cucumber, Cherokee Black tomatoes ( purply, deep-red, sweetly luscious monstrosities), avocado, brie cheese, and spring mix.  Simple, delightful, healthy, and gorgeous.  All grown within the tri-state area. 

2.  The second way my habits were influenced greatly by my Northwest trip is that I now am a coffee drinker.  I don’t drink it every day, but I think about it every day.  Normally I frown upon those caffeine-addicted, bleary-eyed Americans who “need” substances like coffee just to get through the day.  Plus there’s my whole obsession with tooth-whiteness to consider.  But, I don’t know if it’s the water, the air quality, or the trendiness, but all the coffee was incredible in Portland and Seattle.  The best coffee EVER can be found at Northwest Coffee in Portland, and IT”S NOT A CHAIN!!!  My other favorite was Seattle’s Best, but of course, it turned out to be owned by Starbucks.  Anyway I learned that coffee is not evil (unless it’s not fair-trade or from Starbucks) and now I’m failing desperately at an attempt to go back to showers as my main source of A.M. energy.

13 Comments leave one →
  1. July 10, 2007 10:05 pm

    Enjoyed your post. I’d like to invite you to link it to the Animal, Vegetable, Miracle blogpost roundup.

  2. July 11, 2007 2:13 am

    We continue to eat local deliciousness every day and I need to post more pictures that I’ve taken to my blog. But since you get so many hits I will mention here, as further encouragement for living la vida loca-l, that if each American family ate *just one* meal a week from local sources, we would consume 1.1 million barrels less of oil each week. Pretty compelling stuff, don’t you think? If you’d like, meet us at the pool tomorrow evening for some locally raised protein (not sure yet which) and a delightful gingered beet (from Full Sun Farm) salad. 🙂

  3. Pixiedyke permalink
    July 11, 2007 4:18 pm

    My problem with eating locally: I have to drive more to put together a full meal. Veggies at the Farmer’s Market, meat from Greenlife, flour and staples from conventional store. Where can I get all these things in one place? Why can’t I get local garlic without paying 6 bucks a pound?

  4. July 11, 2007 6:19 pm

    Dear Pixiedyke,
    I hear you, and until recently, I felt mired in the same financial and other roadblocks.
    Step One. Join a CSA. That way, you don’t have to go to the farmer’s market. You can pick up your food downtown or in WestAsheville after work. Many CSAs offer eggs and cheese and sometimes pork. Step Two. Go to the little farmstand on Smokey Park Highway. It’s in the same parking lot as the Ingles on Smokey Park highway. It’s a West Asheville secret, and I used to shop there when I had my first apartment here. It’s marvelous. Step Three. Get comfortable with making some exceptions. I don’t buy local garlic unless it’s part of my CSA that week. This is where I am right now. Next year, maybe I’ll grow my own garlic (wild garlic is really easy to grow, it’s like a weed kind of, I’ve heard.) Step four: Buy your local meat from Greenlife in bulk and freeze it, so then you only have to go to Greenlife once every couple of weeks or less.
    Step Five: Prepare to spend more time (and maybe even gas) on the act of procuring your food. It will still save more fuel for the world in the long run. Most environmentally sustainable adjustments take more time and effort and money, that’s why people invented cheaper, quicker, more polluting options in the first place. Plus, most people who live kinda far out with lots of land have really big gardens. I’m just sayin. It’s what Jesus would do.

  5. mar-mar permalink
    July 12, 2007 2:57 am

    um, are mangoes locally grown down there? I’m confused as to why you would pickle them.

  6. Pixiedyke permalink
    July 12, 2007 3:41 am

    I will have a really big garden, I’d just like to have a bathroom first. Jesus could poo in a hole. I am not Christ-like enough to poo in holes. My garden starts in September, when I put in my first round of garlic. And that will solve all my problems.

  7. July 12, 2007 3:53 am

    Who’s a stickler? Not me! Forget mangos, whatever. Peaches, that’s what I meant. Grown in South Carolina, natch!

  8. annamatronic permalink
    July 14, 2007 5:59 am

    Bravo, Gourmet Grrl!! I grew up in a household that believed deeply in the importance of supporting the local food economy, and I must say–while it is more difficult than the one-stop shopping most of us have become accustomed to, there is a sense of satisfaction in knowing you’ve helped a local farmer feed his family AND negated the need for 18 wheelers to deliver 6 month old produce. The only downside of CSA eating, I’ve found, is that you get an influx of a couple of items each week–it’s tricky to figure out what to do with 5 lbs. of cabbage and 10 lbs. of corn before it goes bad. Canning and pickling is the way to go! Good luck with all that jazz!!

    PS–you could can corn, as well.

  9. July 15, 2007 8:45 pm

    Welcome to the world of coffee drinkers! Coffee is not just a drug to many (like me). Like dining, it too, can be experienced purely for tasting pleasure. My favorite coffee in Asheville is at City Bakery. They always have organic fair trade coffee available and it tastes damn good! Buying organic fair trade coffee is equally as important as buying locally grown products in that it fairly supports the economy of the growers. PS, this is your birthday present.

  10. July 19, 2007 3:50 pm

    Do the growers at your farmer’s markets participate in the WIC or the Farmer’s Market Commodity Supplemental Food Program (USDA)? I forsee a day when farmer’s markets can truly provide locally grown, reasonably priced food for those in communities that lack a decent grocery store. Check out this story on the topic:

  11. Kelly permalink
    July 19, 2007 11:09 pm

    Pickled okra! Pickled okra!

  12. Pixiedyke permalink
    July 22, 2007 12:37 pm

    There’s a great article in Mother Earth News this month about canning: what to can vs freeze, cold canning vs hot canning, how to get the food ready… Ask me for it when you see me.

  13. queen kirstifa permalink
    August 1, 2007 5:14 am

    local avocados? i’m confused about this…

    love your tips in the comment section, in addition to the post.

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