Lessons Learned from Local Month

1. Just because you think your homemade tomato sauce should be better than the Walmart brand stuff you normally buy, doesn’t mean your son will agree.

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2. Less really is more. By cutting myself off from all the options at the supermarket, I appreciated what was in season more. I ate peaches (one of my favorite fruits in season) until they were coming out of my ears. I gorged myself on tomatoes almost every day.

Instead of buying the same old stuff at the store, I bought what the farmers were selling, and I ate it. And it was GOOD. I snapped up any berries I could find. I stocked up my freezer for smoothies to come. I ate green beans rather than broccoli, because that’s what they had.

And somehow, with less choices, I enjoyed shopping and eating and cooking more, not less. I expected to be a little put out with the options (and certainly in the winter, I would be), BUT I wasn’t. I could have used some more greens, but other than that, I was more than satisfied.

So satisfied in fact, that I really want to keep eating like this. It isn’t for the sanctimonious (although perfectly legit) reasons that I started with either. It’s because I really enjoyed it.

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3. You help the farmers; they’ll help you. Now, honestly, I’m not eating locally grown food to “help” anyone. I wouldn’t buy from them if they didn’t have a superior product, BUT buying from farmers is a much different relationship than you have with Kroger.

When Kroger has case loads of food that are going to be tossed into the dumpster, they don’t offer them to me (in fact they refuse to give them to you even if you ask them while they are removing the mushrooms from the shelf). When your farmer has giant bags of corn that are going to be wasted, they practically beg you to take them (not that I needed any begging).

When you do your shopping at the farmer’s market, the farmers get to know you. They know that I am the type who would take several hours out of my day to preserve all that corn for the winter. They know that I will cut up and freeze all those green beans that aren’t pretty enough to sell. And it probably doesn’t hurt that I have a really cute son. 🙂

I’ve spent most of my food dollars at the market this year. The farmers regularly cut their prices for me, particularly when I’m buying in bulk. Kroger isn’t going to do this for you.

Walmart isn’t going to go out and pick raspberries that morning and save them just for you that afternoon when you ask for them. Walmart shipped their raspberries from California, and who knows when they were picked and what they sprayed on them.

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4. If you seek, you will find. I found a local source of sugar (maple syrup), local dairy products, local strawberries (in August!), local blueberries, and local eggs; all things that I had foreseen being a problem. I’m still on the hunt for local wheat, but I have a possible lead.

I’m contemplating getting ducks for pest control mainly and eggs. I mentioned this to someone, and she has ducks, so I might be able to buy them from her instead of ordering them in the mail. If you seek, you will find.

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That’s all I can think of at the moment, but if you buy local food, add your lessons to the list in the comments!

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