Carrboro, North Carolina
Born and raised in central Maine, my youth was spent mowing the lawn, kicking a soccer ball against the garage doors, and trying to sneak sugar cereal out of the kitchen cupboards after I was put to bed. More about Tim
South Royalton, Vermont
I am a baby boomer who grew up in a time when the trend in food was convenience and speed. It wasn't the fast-food era, but a post-World War II time when ... More about Warren
We live in Holliston, Massachusetts. When we bought our house in Holliston about 27 years ago, Holliston was a rural/residential town of about 13,000 people. More about Barbara
Wallace, West Virginia
My name is Autumn. I'm 24 years old, and I live in rural north-central West Virginia. I was born and raised in West Virginia, and in 2005 I graduated from ... More about Autumn
My personal interests revolve around the environment, both knowing more about it and getting outside and enjoying my surroundings. This led me down an educational path to ... More about April
My definition of local is shifting. I’ve lived all over Ohio, from Toledo, to Athens, to Columbus. Despite what some may say, Ohio has a lot to offer. It is a beautiful and diverse place. As my family and I prepare to move to the Cleveland area, I find that my definition of local shifts with it. When I usually buy food, I use a CSA (Community supported agriculture) for most of my produce from April to November. With a move in winter, I won’t have access to one of those this year. (CSA’s usually add to their membership between December and February, so they can use member dues to pay for that coming year’s seeds and supplies). I will have farmer’s markets, but I’ll need to learn where they are.
In addition to the actual place that is local to me, I also find I’m drawn to “local” products that aren’t local to me anymore but once were. For example, when I see apples from MacQueen’s Orchard in Toledo, I buy them every time. I may not live there anymore, but I know that orchard. It is still local to me.
My idea of local is all fresh and new right now. We haven’t even settled into a community yet in the Cleveland area, so I can’t say what will be my sources for local foods, even a month from now. I think it will be a fun adventure. I do love getting to know a place, and the local food of a place says so much.
Come winter in Ohio, unless one is diligent in canning and storing fruits and veggies, to the mega-mart we must go. I was not diligent this year. I wasn’t able to can anything, and I only have a few potatoes left from my CSA. For the next few months, all of my food is coming from a grocery of some sort. As I get settled into my new home, I’m first going to attempt to buy from local groceries. If that isn’t a viable option, either because they don’t exist or I can’t afford them, I’m just going to be mindful of where the food comes from. Whatever has traveled the least will work for me.
That said, I went to the grocery at our old home a week ago to stock up before our start to moving. We went to our usual grocery, but instead of planning out meals and carefully shopping, we just needed to stock up for the week. We also needed to find foods easy to eat in the car and that needed little prep since most of our week would not be spent in our regular home and kitchen. In our old home, finding local foods takes time, effort, and trips to several different stores, especially in the winter. This week local was an unattainable goal. We needed fruit, and meat and we only had a couple hours in which to procure them. I bought grapefruit from Texas and grapes from Chile. The apples were from Michigan, and if we were still in Toledo, Michigan would be local by my definition.
Normally in the winter, we cut back on the fresh fruit a bit. I do eat citrus (certainly not from Ohio), if only because it is in season somewhere in the US. If we can’t eat locally, then we try to eat seasonally. This week just seasonally wouldn’t work either. My husband is allergic to citrus, and he needed good, portable food this week too. The lunchmeats were not remotely local or free-range. Not our best effort. Right now we just have to eat nutritiously while we negotiate these next stressful weeks.
On the plus side, in driving around our new region this week many helpful people have recommended great places for local fruits and veggies, along with free-range meats. It’s starting to sound like some stores are even one-stop shops for local dairy, meats, and fruits (even in the winter). Now we just have to figure out where we’re going to live and how to get from home to the market!