Those of you who know me are aware that I'm a simple man with simple pleasures. I enjoy eating too much, criticizing our current White House administration, and a various assortment of geeky pastimes such as video games, reading fantasy novels, etc.
Well, I've found something that has consumed me lately. Or, rather, I've been consuming it. I'm talking about the nationwide trend to create meals using only locally grown food produced within a nearby geographic region. The name of these ambitious gastronomic trail blazers? Localvores.
When I first heard of locavores, I was sceptical. I thought, 'okay, so this is clearly a luxury born of our extremely wealthy and completely crazy country. Is this something that can truly be done? Are there practical reasons for doing it?' Well, it turns out it can be done, there are practical reasons for doing it, and the trend is growing fast.
I set out to try my hand at Localvore consumption last weekend. I decided that I would attempt to make a meal with only the ingredients that came from my local community. I was skeptical, considering that it is the end of the harvest season.
I treked down to Bristol's local organic market on Mountain Street and began my shopping trip. I very quickly realized that it's rather easy to make a meal out of local ingredients. I found potatoes, garlic, carrots, and onions grown locally. I bought some beef from a local farmer, and I picked up a six-pack of Otter Creek Octoberfest, which is produced just down the street from my house. With a clear strategy to make a stew, I knew there was only one missing piece: bread.
As I contemplated my bread purchase I realized that I as engrossed by the concept of being a Localvore. I went so far as to question whether the flour in the bread I was purchasing came from local wheat. From there, I hoped that the eggs were from a farm down the street. All this questioning and wondering and envisioning the local producers that could contribute to my meal made me realize that I was creating strong connections between myself and my surrounding community. I liked it. I liked it a lot.
I completed my culonary sojourn by stopping at the Bristol Bakery to buy a loaf. I agreed to make a concession here as I didn't inquire where the flour was produced or where the eggs came from. All that mattered to me was that the bread was made locally. With bread in hand, I was ready to begin my meal.
The rest is as you would imagine it. I cooked a meal, proud of what I had done and excited to try it again. I realized that there are many practical reasons for becoming a Localvore. I ensured that my hard-earned money was spent with local growers and producers. More importantly, I had a chance to meet new people and learn more about them, their farms, their way of life, and how I fit into all of it.
I intend to make localvore meals on a regular basis, even as winter approaches and the vegetables at the farmers markets are replaced by the vegetables canned, pickled, or frozen in local freezers. I encourage everyone who reads this blog to learn more about Localvores and how to become one. Below are a few links to websites that focus on this concept in the Vermont area. They feature recipes, events, and links to resources that will allow you to rise to the challenge. Bon Appetite.
The Central Vermont Localvore site