Friday, December 2, 2011

The short list: Foods it will be easiest to eat locally in the Berkshires during the dormant season.

1. Milk and eggs (and other dairy products, like butter, yogurt, and cheese). Dairy farms are fairly abundant here, and I can find these products easily at Taft Farms, Guido’s, the Co-op and others. I am especially interested in finding raw milk (shh!), which is slightly more challenging, but in the meantime, local pasteurized milk will do.

2. Meat. I already don’t eat a lot of meat. Chicken is the most common form found in my fridge, and I know of several places where I can find local chicken, including those listed above. The Meat Market in Great Barrington is another sure thing, for all kinds of local meat products – even containers of local lard!

3. Root veggies and greenhouse produce. Again, places like Guido’s and the Co-op label what’s local – often naming the specific farm it came from – so while these items are in season, that’s a no brainer.

4. Flour and most other baking supplies. For the sake of this (and because I strongly believe in its superior quality), I’m going to call King Arthur Flour, based out of Vermont, local. Honey and maple syrup (and all manner of other maple products) should also be fairly simple. I also know a local woman you puts together her own spices and spice mixes. Local chocolate and coffee beans are also available.

Ok, so what does that leave me without?

Seafood: Obviously, because I don’t live in a coastal town, seafood is not particularly abundant. It would probably be possible to find some from the other side of the state; I’ll have to look into that (Mazzeo’s does have a meat and seafood counter at Guido’s, I’ll have to check it out more carefully). Meanwhile, I don’t buy a ton of seafood – mostly shrimp, occasionally a salmon fillet or some sort of white fish. When I do, I’ll be on the lookout for wild caught instead of farm raised – and continue to base decisions of the Monterey bay Aquarium’s safe seafood list.

Cereal – and other whole grains, including pasta, and dry beans: Again, I’ll just have to try to get the best versions of these foods that I can find.

Condiments, olive oils, and other convenience items: It may be possible to find some of these items locally – pickles, for example, should be fairly straight forward. I just haven’t looked that closely yet. Otherwise, see above for my planned strategy.

And most obviously, fruits and veggies not currently in season: This will be the hardest. In the dead of winter, what is more appealing that the bright red strawberries imported from Mexico or wherever it is they come from? What I’ll have to remember is that while these items look good, their taste rarely lives up to the hype. I’m sure I’ll break down and by bananas, apples, grapes, etc. throughout the winter. I’ll try to limit it, and focus on what produce I can get locally. I’ll also consider Berkshire Organics as a good source for these items – while it may not be local, at least I’ll know its fair trade, organic, and/or sustainable.

So, what am I forgetting?

No comments:

Post a Comment