So, here’s how I break it down:
Step 1. Define a radius.
In other words, how local are we talking here? Die-hard localvores seem to favor the scant 100-mile radius. But when you live on the coast, that hardly seems fair. About 40% of my radius would then be squandered by useless ocean. Nothing good to eat in there. So, I’m leaning toward a 200-mile radius to even things out. Or whatever-mile radius includes all of Vermont. So, maybe…250? Seem fair? I hope so, because I just signed up for milk delivery (glass bottles!!) from Crescent Ridge Dairy, which gets its milk from the tippity-top of the Green Mountain State.
Step 2: Plant garden.
Apparently, I have to get cracking on this. The sun is supposed to come out this weekend, so I need to get some seeds into the ground ASAP. Also need to figure out what to grow. And buy the seeds. And get dirt. Actually, the sun was out earlier today and the squirrels were having spring flings in every possible area of the yard. I kept having to pull down the shades, yelling, “Get a room.” I hope they get it all out of their system by the weekend. I don’t want the children wasting valuable planting time asking questions.
But, just in case my garden doesn’t grow, or it does grow but the only remaining groundhog on the premises chomps everything to the ground, I’ve joined a local CSA. That’s community-supported agriculture, which basically means you pay a farm to give you stuff direct (my hip Cambridge friends turned me on to this, only they do actual farm work in exchange).
Turns out, there are quite a lot of farms in Massachusetts that do this. I chose Drumlin Farm because it’s only 20 minutes away, we go there for walks quite a bit anyway, and farm work is optional. They're not certified organic, but they practice sustainable agriculture. Also, they keep some livestock, and I figured that if I experienced a severe red meat deficiency, I could always sneak in there for some “optional farm work” and it wouldn't be considered cheating.
This isn’t so much a question as a thinking-out-loud.
Step 3: Establish the rules.
I don’t cheat in board games, but I cannot be trusted around food. There are just too many chocolate honey-dipped loopholes, if you know what I mean. So, the rules need to be well established ahead of time so that I don't get branded a cheater. Because I will cheat. I just want to be up front about it.
Here are the things I'm unclear about when it comes to local products. Obviously, produce should be locally grown, but what about other things? Does the fish have to be hooked in Boston Harbor, or is just having a Cape Cod vacation home enough? Does meat have to be locally raised or just locally processed (I’m thinking specifically of my beloved DePasquale’s sausages since I doubt they use local pork)? Also, Teddie’s peanut butter is manufactured in Everett, but I have yet to see a single peanut farm in the vicinity. Same with amber waves of grain. I’m pretty sure my kids won’t survive peanut butter sandwich withdrawal, so I may have to draw up a few clauses.
I’m feeling pretty confident about the produce side of it during September, it being harvest time and all. It’s everything else I’m worried about. I’m going to have to map out the food groups, I think. Also, can somebody please tell me how to cope with a lack of local citrus fruits? Any and all input is welcome starting…now.