Saturday, January 12, 2008
Thinking local ...
One of my favorite things about this region is the diversity and quality of local goods produced here. It's something to prize for many reasons: supporting neighbors in their business enterprises, minimizing road miles and the related carbon footprint of my consumption, and because it's quite often better than any of the more well-traveled stuff. A little pricier, true, but I view that as internalizing the real cost of production, rather than paying for it with petroleum subsidies and exported jobs -- and I find I'm liking the paring down to simpler things: buying a little less and making more out of it. Hooray for leftovers: less waste, less work, less spending. Also, buying local fresh produce means buying stuff in season, which has it's own host of benefits.
Just had some fabulous locally made jalapeno jelly. I bought it at Shaffer's Ace Hardware, of all places. An odd spot to buy jelly, I know -- but I couldn't resist, sitting there like it was, looking so pretty, handmade, local, and jalapeno! It's made by the "Whole Enchilada" restaurant in Salyer. Great find. Goes perfectly with another local favorite, Humboldt Fog cheese (I know they sold to a large corporate buyer, but I think it's still produced locally.)
So far, I've savored the local grass fed beef, butter, cheese, milk, ice cream, a variety of fresh fruits and vegies in season, ditto crab -- fresh off the boats (dang I love this place), jams and jellies, and other things I can't recall at the moment. I'd appreciate you all's input on what I might be missing.
It's one of the several reasons I don't shop at the major chain stores as a first choice (though I am not a purist and will do it if the local options or small-chain options just don't fill the bill), because they rarely carry a good variety of local goods. I find most grocers will try if you ask though.
And that's all just on the food front. There's also a whole world of local non-food products to keep high (no pun intended with the emerald triangle product line) on our radar. Besides great art (of which we have a rich abundance), local non-food products seem a bit harder to find when you have a specific need though, like clothes, furniture, ?? I don't get out much, so share if you're so inspired.
Of course, you can't get more local than the back yard. And talk about reducing your packaging waste stream! It was fun this Christmas to make several pies with the apples from my tree and butter from Ferndale, with a side of local ice cream too. We also had carrots still coming out of the ground back there for the festivities.
Kinda corny to be so enamored of this kind of thing, I know. It may not be as sexy as pitched or pithy prose on headline politics, but the little things really do matter. This one only seems little in the moment at the store, but it's both a local and global issue, a quality of life issue, labor conditions and working wage issue, as well as environmental, sustainability, and personal health issue. Pretty impressive for a little jar of jelly.