So What IS Local, Exactly?

Listen … I’m not a hippie.

I don’t care if my food is organic or conventional.

I just love good, fresh food.

This being my second season writing the blog, The Locavore’s Dilemma, people ask me time and again, “What is local?”And the query is always intoned with the subtle undertone of, “And are you some kinda hippie, kid?

So I decided to state, straight up, what I view as local food. Now mind, this is MY definition and you don’t have to agree.

But to me local is about WHO you’re buying from and not necessarily WHERE it’s from.

Typically, I define local food as food harvested within a 100-mile radius of where you live. But if it’s grown within 100 miles and is sold at Wal-Mart … I’m not gonna buy it.

It’s not a political thing. It’s not because I hate Wal-Mart or corporate America. It’s not because I’m a snob. There’s no overarching motive other than I’m picky and I don’t buy from Wal-Mart because I don’t think they need my money.

At least, they don’t need the money much as the guy down the street whose family I know does (shameless plug for Mike’s Meats and Farmer’s Market here). 

And of course, the bottom line … produce from the supermarket is just nasty.

As a kid I grew up eating fresh produce my mother procured on a daily basis from the fruit stand down the road. From the Spring to the Fall we ate fresh fruits and vegitables everyday. I loathed the asparagus season. I hated choking down the kale, fresh greens and sprouts I thought were bioengineered to make a kid like me miserable.

Now I look back upon my epicurean development and culinary education with a grateful awe. I still bless my mother’s name every time I come across a fruit stand or farmer’s market.

Now I take great joy in thumping melons, indenting eggplant and sniffing all sorts of assorted produce.

Even though my shopping takes the better part of Saturdays I’d never trade it in for the crowded supermarkets with the bleak, hospital lighting and irritated, after work-moms imperiously trying to shove their way before you in line.

So so long for the summer, supermarkets. I’ll miss ya … Not!

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