Local Produce - or not?
OK, buy local, eat local (not sure I like the grammar in these phrases!).
So, I live in the Great White North and it's February and I want a tomato. They ship in some pretty good ones these days - not like vine-ripened, but pretty good and better than we could get 15 years ago, right?
So, am I wrecking the environment because of all the transportation resources that are dedicated to bringing me a few tomatoes? Or screwing over my local farmers?
Part of me wants to point out that the resources required to build and dispose of a Prius battery are far beyond those necessary to bring me a tomato in the winter.
No "local" produce in NJ these days either. Have a no-frills place near me called Produce Junction. GREAT stuff, GREAT prices, and slightly in bulk. Was there a a few weeks ago and there at check-out were something called KUMATOS... "brown" tomatoes. In those little cardboard "boats". Canadian company, grown in Mexico, only $2/lb. Tomatoes are EXTREMELY nasty this time of year but took a chance on them... only $2. THEY WERE FABULOUS!! First thing I noticed after cutting one... they SMELLED like a real tomato. And the flavor is great. If you ever see them, I would recommend you giving them a try.
I live where you can get THE BEST local produce when it's in season. Makes me crazy when farmers market and local road side stand puts up signs for LOCAL tomatoes and corn before Memorial Day?? That's just crazy talk. Corn is only INCHES tall in fields by then and a real fresh, right off the vine tomatoe does NOT exist until well into July, if you're lucky!
I love Kumatos; I got some a few times from my local Walmart and they were delicious. I harvested some seeds and am going to try growing some this year in my garden.
I live where produce is seasonal, not year round so how else would I get fresh veggies if I didn't buy what was available? Frozen & canned has their places but fresh will over rule 99.9% of the time...
This is where the local thing begins to breakdown. It starts with the morning. Unless you live in Colombia or China, where do you get your local coffee or tea from? By the time we get to February, I guess all we're supposed to eat are shriveled root veg and cabbage. No lettuce and tomato for you! I would go ahead a buy that tomato and not worry about it.
The "whole local thing" doesn't have to be all or nothing for it to have some value. How much value is debatable and/or a matter of personal conscience.
I try to support local farmers, for many reasons - not all gustatory or environmental, either. I eat a lot of cabbage and root veg (still in pretty good shape) at this time of year for just that reason. I also can't resist a really nice looking CA artichoke. I always have citrus for cocktails. I have no problem with just trying and accepting that I'm not going to be perfect - that's usually the best anyone can really do anyway.
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I think its up to you. I choose not to buy some things even when I need them. Like a few days ago. For some reason a store near me carrys herbs that are grown in columbia and turkey. I would rather do with out fresh dill or mint then support that. Esp when I know that can be bought from closer sources. I don't support buying carrots from china when I can buy carrots right next to them for a 1lb more that are grown here.
You have it tough and really can't support local because you have no local.