Escape from Winter - 2012 travel blog




These days trendy foodies and eco minded green folks are trying hard to eat local. They want to lower the carbon foot print involved in transporting food long distances and support local farmers who work on a small scale rather than the mega agri-businesses who make decisions based solely on the bottom line. I'm all for this in theory, but when you live in northern Illinois and the ground is frozen solid for five months a year, eating local is not so appealing unless you have a root cellar full of potatoes, carrots and turnips. As a spoiled American consumer I've become used to eating all sorts of things whenever I'm in the mood to have them.

Much of our produce comes from the southern US and Mexico and now that we are here you would think that eating local would be easier. I was disappointed when I read the label on a fresh pineapple I bought at the grocery store and saw that it came from Costa Rica. I know that pineapples grow not far from here; we've driven through the fields when we've visited Mexico.

So it's a treat on Wednesday morning to see that the veggie man has arrived in our campground parking lot just a few steps away from our rig. He brings cabbages, oranges, potatoes, and cauliflower that grow in the fields around here and pineapples, tomatoes, and avocados from nearby Mexico. They aren't neatly packages in plastic containers and still are coated with some of the soil they grew in. If you buy a fresh pineapple, he has a machine that takes off the outer shell and cores it in one fell swoop. And the sweet and pungent flavor can't be beat.

Often the veggie man brings a side kick - the meat and seafood guy. Again his products are from the area. Texans take great pride in their beef and rightly so. I have never had a brisket outside of this state that could hold a candle to what is commonly available in most any greasy spoon here. Today the meat guy had no seafood. He said that the fishermen had taken a few days off for the holidays and the supply was down. Good for them! Everyone deserves a few days off and that seafood will still have the smell and taste of the sea when he comes again next week.

Here it's so much easier to be a locavore.

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