Today on my way home from the farm I followed a tractor-trailer advertising Coca-Cola which, presumably, is what the truck was hauling. I found myself wondering what this world, or at least this part of it, would look like if we all became locavores, or people who eat only food grown and raised close to home.
Certainly, there wouldn't be soda-filled trucks traveling along Route 149. The fast food billboards would be gone, leaving me and my fellow travelers with a much more open view of the fields and sky. The gas stations would be just that, rather than mini-markets tempting us with a full array of the most unhealthy convenience foods available.
Or, perhaps we would still have convenience snacks to grab after filling up our tanks, but they would be apples, carrot sticks and locally-made cheese. Just a little something to tie us over until we get home. (And, yes, in my imaginary world, we'd be filling our tanks with something other than gasoline.)
If we all ate locally-grown and raised food, there might be huge indoor farmers markets in place of our supermarkets. While they would not be open around the clock, they would be open five or six days a week. And, across the street there wouldn't be an Applebee's or a Golden Corral, because we would be bringing our food home to cook and eat slowly with our families.
We as a community are a long, long way from this vision of the world. Even my family, in all our efforts to buy local, uses flour, oil and bananas from plants grown in faraway lands. Who am I kidding? I had Twizzlers the other day. They definitely weren't made from locally-derived corn sugar.
On the other hand, we frequently sit down to meals prepared almost entirely of local ingredients. Five years ago, my husband and I ate frozen pizza at least once a week. Today, I found myself trying to explain to my four-year-old why we couldn't buy a watermelon in January, yet I bought lemons the other day.
My family has come to this point in our eating journey through deliberate, but slow, steps over several years. And, clearly, we're still working on it.
I wonder what would happen if everyone made it a goal this year to take one step closer to eating like a locavore. Maybe you'd like to eat one meal per week of completely local ingredients. For some, that might still be too much. Finding a local source for a favorite food might be an easier goal. Maybe eliminating soda is difficult enough, but still a worthy step in the right direction.
What's my goal this year? I have two. The first is to begin beekeeping. I already use local honey, but there's nothing more local than harvesting my own. The second is to learn to grow, and hopefully dry, my own beans. Hopefully these won't be a complete flop and I can report the results this summer.
Wherever you are in your local eating journey, it's not too late to make your New Year's food resolution.
To get you started in the right direction, here's a very simple favorite. Don't be fooled by the simplicity. I served this the other night and got repeated compliments on the sweetness of the carrots.
* 1 quart carrots, peeled and cut into large similarly-sized pieces
* 1 quart potatoes, peeled (if you want) and quartered
* 1 large sweet onion, cut into large pieces
* Any other root vegetables such as turnips, rutabaga or winter radishes (optional)
* 1 to 2 cloves garlic, smashed (optional)
* Olive oil
* Salt and pepper
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Toss vegetables in a large baking pan with enough olive oil to coat, and add salt and pepper to taste. Roast for about 30 minutes or until the vegetables are just tender, checking and turning occasionally. Enjoy.
Roasted roots also do well reheated, so don't be afraid to make a double batch.
Kris Nusskern is a mom who writes for the Kilpatrick Family Farm in Middle Granville when she’s not busy herding her four year old son. She is frequently in the kitchen experimenting with locally grown foods and likes writing about our relationship to the land.
Photo Credit: Jessica Riehl
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