Thursday, August 30, 2007

How Not to Eat Local

The Thursday Morning Massacre

Sweet corn's half-way to ruin the minute it's picked, why bother with what's been sitting in my fridge for over a week. Those patty-pan squashes that looked so damn cute, even at $6/lb, are now just a squsihy-sqaushy science project. I so much designed a slaw recipe for kohlrabi that I got my mother to make it, mine just languished. There were turnips that I thought would last longer, and celery I think I'm just putting in the wrong spot in the downstair's fridge. My older daughter can easily gobble up a whole cucumber in a sitting, but her habits did not get to all we had. The window for certain greens is small. I meant to cook the beet greens, the kale, the what not. Instead, I cleared it all out before loading today's box. I buried a lot of formerly good produce in my green Waste Management coffin. After more than two years of dedication to eating local, I wonder, am I so good at it.

OK, I'm trying to make a point, not self-reflect. My point, a point that I have made before, that others probably hear better than I, is that eating local takes time. Past time, future time. I need more time to figure out my storage. Like I say, when will I learn the right spot in the fridge to place the celery. How long will things last. Some things, carrots, for instance, seem immortal, the horcruxed veg. Other times, as in those turnips, I am surprised. Beyond that, as we move into the storage phase of the year, what to do. Where to put it--I have some ideas on this, but that's for another post. I know whatever I do, I will ruin some food. There will be waste. It still takes time to understand what works best. I am not there.

It takes time I did not have. Or time I used up. I could have saved that corn by freezing it that day (and believe me, that's what I'm doing as soon as I finish this post). A lot of those greens could have been saved. There is surely a burden on eating local. Not only must us localvores process our food more than the supermarket customer, but we need to take the time to make do. As Farmer Vicki will often say, the summer CSA boxes are supposed to be too much food. We are supposed to have more food now than we need because we will not have enough food later. We can eat local in Chicago all year round. If we have time.

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