Monday, October 7, 2013

Food and Politics Part IV: Local Food

So, I read over here: that this week is "Eat Local" week. It's a week of events, mostly in the Salt Lake City Metro area, designed to raise awareness of and to celebrate the "Local Food Movement". The idea is to try and eat foods that were produced within 250 miles of your home.

I'm not one to jump in on food movements. I'll occasionally make a meal that's vegetarian, and I like to shop at farmer's markets and I've even been in a food co-op from time to time. I'm fascinated by deconstruction, and even molecular gastronomy. I love to explore the world's food.

But even with all that. I'm not really committed to any one of them. Except cooking them outdoors, or in Dutch ovens. I pretty much stick with that. It's kinda my schtick.

The local food movement is something, however, that I've always liked. As I said, I love shopping at farmer's markets, and I like getting things from the roadside stands that are all over Utah in the later summer and early fall. I think it's great to buy from smaller local farms. Here are some thoughts.

1 - When you shop for local food, you never really know what you'll get, and shopping is a bit of an adventure. Sometimes, I'll go there without an idea of what I want to cook. Then, I get my ideas from what I see. I think that's a lot of fun. Sometimes, what you get is more flavorful and colorful than the supermarket competition. Other times, it's on par. It's that variability that ads flair, I think.

2 - I was in a larger supermarket, a Smith's, the other day, and saw that they were putting up displays that celebrate local food. In the produce section, for example, next to some of the veggies, were pictures of the farmers that had produced what was in the bin. So, sometimes you can get local with the convenience of the supermarket.

3 - I remember one time last summer, I stopped off at a street corner produce stand, and in talking with them, found out that the corn they were selling had been trucked in from California the night before. Local food? Not so much...

Overall, I think it's a great idea. In the past, I've tried to shop local food whenever it was easy and convenient. I think that, in the future, I'll make a broader effort to include local foods in my ingredients and mention that whenever I can in the blog. You know, food trends come and go, but I think this is one worth building on.

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