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 What I learned on vacation; ruminations of a local locavore.

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joelie hicks
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Registration date : 2008-09-21

PostSubject: What I learned on vacation; ruminations of a local locavore.   Fri Aug 27, 2010 8:35 am

We are blessed here in this area, consumers are demanding better food products, local food is alive and well in lots of places.
That in a nutshell is what i learned when The man of the place and I took a vacation to Ann Arbor Michigan recently. We took the Amtrak which gave us a lot of opportunity to observe the landscape and small towns along the way. We had a layover in Chicago, so we walked around the 'town' a little. We boarded and unboarded in St Cloud, Mn, spending a little time there as well observing some things during the drive home.
First stop, St. Cloud and visit to my sister and her husband, both retired. My sister was excited that her grandaughter a 21 y/o college student in St. Paul was making trips up to learn the art of canning and freezing produce. Since seeing the movie Food Inc. and Fresh she has become a locavore and encourages others to pay attention to their food sources. She has limited finances so she spends carefully. It is great to see my sister, her daughter and her grand daughter all making good food choices, using farmer markets to make most of their food purchases in season and buying produce to process to carry them through the winter.
On the Amtrak nearly every town along the way had a banner advertising a farmers market, isn't that great? In Chicago I noticed several restaurants who pledged to serve food that was raised locally and herbacide/pesticide free. A few also stated that their animal products are raised humanely. The Chipotle chain will only buy their meat from small producers, so it isn't just frou frou yuppie-type venues that are seeing the light.
In Ann Arbor my daughter and her boy friend shop the FMs extensively, augmenting with a local co-op as well as Whole Foods market. Both places stress locally produced foods and I was surprised to see the grass fed beef at WF was affordable, local and delicious. Their FM offers home made cheese and meat as well as breads and produce. There is even access to raw milk, on the downside it requires a $54 herdshare fee (annual) and the milk is $8 a gallon! But even if I were a mom of young children, and limited finances, as indeed I once was, I would make the sacrifice to provide this product for my kids. The other downside is it requires an hour of road time (traffic more than distance), So a few interested people can make everyone's life easier by alternating pick-ups.
Many eating places in AA offered locally raised food. We enjoyed several meals from such places and picked up some fabulous artisan cheese and bread.
In the way home, I noticed a large egg company had a banner on the outside of their business saying that their eggs were 'locally produced', this is why we have to be careful with that label. A short distance from the business there were egg and chicken places, local to be sure, but they were industrial all the same. Know your source, know your farmer if possible. And it is getting to be more possible all the time, even if you live in a city.
I came home and went to pick up milk (bliss), provided by cows that I could see were standing hip deep in grass. I can get eggs from chickens that have GMO free feed and are free of synthetic hormones. Best yet. it is all affordable.
I have missed my local farmers markets fix, but I did eat some great dandelion jelly from the Willmar Farmers Market. One of the signs said NOT USDA approved, Joel Salatin calls the dept of ag USDuh. Considering their track record of what they approve for consumption, I tend to agree. Buy smart, observe the vendors practices, buy fresh, buy a little extra to put away for winter and most of all BUY LOCAL!
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lightninboy
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PostSubject: Re: What I learned on vacation; ruminations of a local locavore.   Sun Dec 12, 2010 9:32 pm

I thought this guy on Public Radio made a lot of sense. Who could really disagree with him?

December 9, 2010
Dan Barber is a celebrated young chef but his passionate ethics and intellect have made him much more. He's out to restore food to its rightful place vis--vis our bodies, our ecologies and our economies. And he would do this by resurrecting our natural insistence on flavor.

http://being.publicradio.org/programs/2010/driven-by-flavor/
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