Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
May 22, 2013 07:53 PM

Local food: What does it mean to you?

It's a little like natural these days, can mean anything and everything, no official guidelines, and thus is means nothing.
When you think of local food, what do you think of?
Do you aim to shop, eat locally?
I thought I cared, but the past few times I've grocery shopped, I've noticed how quickly those California avocados make it into my cart (I'm in Minnesota). What about you?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. To me the term "local food" means either something that was produced or grown close to where it is being sold, or to something that is a speciality of the region.

    In general, I try to shop locally, but not exclusively. Most of the fruits, vegetables, pork, eggs, chicken, seafood, tea, chicken stock, rice and other grains with the exception of wheat I buy are local (grown within a few hundred kilometers).

    I am lucky enough to be in an area that has a year round growing season, so local produce is usually easily available, except for right after a typhoon.

    The imported foods I buy regularly include beef, cheese, coffee, lettuce, spices and herbs, anything made from wheat, wine, beer and hard liquor, some condiments, olive oil, and some canned goods (canned tomatoes, beans, artichoke hearts, olive and pickles).

    1. "Local" food is anything I can buy at the markets I use within a few miles of my home. "Nonlocal" food is food I must import myself, such as seafood I bring home from the PNW or things I must order by mail.

      2 Replies
      1. re: GH1618

        So an avocado from Mexico that you bought down the street is "local"?

        1. re: carolinadawg

          Yes. Even though I live in California, a lot of our produce comes from Mexico. It's much like getting produce from Salinas, just a little farther south. As long as it arrives in good condition, it works for me. There are very few avocados grown in Oakland, as far as I know.

      2. Can't wait for REAL NJ tomatoes and sweet corn. Some road side stand will probably have signs up THIS weekend syaing they have "local" stuff... but just NOT POSSIBLE until at least fourth of July or so.

        1. I shop locally whenever I can - and even in Philadelphia that's most of the time. The only things I don't buy locally are those things simply not available locally - So I get asparagus in the spring and never any other time, unless I have frozen my own, tomatoes, greens, etc. all the same. I can get local flour and dried beans and meats and cheeses (all within 100 miles) year round, salad greens too (sometimes grown hydroponically). That said I need lemons, limes, the occasional mango, avocados - that are NEVER in season here cause we can't grow them, so those I try to buy from the best sources I can - meaning organic (local is more important to me than organic btw), sustainably produced, etc.

          1. Anything grown within 100 miles is local, IMHO, and other than most seafood, it's pretty easy for me to keep within that radius.