Sunday, July 2, 2017

Interlocal Foods

I get it.  It’s not always easy to find local foods within the vastness of corporate agriculture.   Acquiring local fruits, vegetables, breads, cheeses, eggs, seafood, and meats is the way to go. Not all parts of the country can provide local goods and products in all of these food groups. Not all local sources are tasty.  What do I do?    

I recently got a bunch of push back when I used the term local to define a locally acquired food product purchased while on a distant trip and then brought back home to enjoy.  How can it be local when I live in the Midwest and this product is sold on along the coast?  The ensuing debate covered the traditional concepts of so many miles from one’s home to be called local.  Final ruling: it should not be called local if acquired more than 50 to 100 miles from my house.

I believe the concepts of local (fair trade, family produced, farm fresh, seasonality, nature) can be more than just geography.  Local is such a simple term with broad emotions.  I need to find a better term that allows me to describe this food acquired from a local merchant, farmer, or fisher anywhere, but then transported home to be used in my kitchen.  How about the term interlocal?

First place tomatoes at the DuQuoin State Fair, Illinois

Sheeesh, my foodshed map could include many more places thus having more diversity if I pursued locally acquired and then transported to my home.  Recall, I am chasing flavor, want to support non-corporate farms, and not bound by the exceedance of some artificial diameter from my house.  Plus the expanded social discourse from these transactions grows the network of likeminded individuals plus it adds to the diner conversation over the sourcing of the meal ingredients.

Eat more hummus.  So where can I get me some chick peas in eastern Iowa?

Perhaps inspired in the lyrics a song by Jimmy Buffett about being five o’clock somewhere: its local somewhere.  And please don’t get me started on all this craft fermented malt beverages and distilled spirits.  Up here in my mind, it’s all local.

 Gotta love diversity.
All the best,