How to Eat Local

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I was asking Langley berry farmer, Rhonda Driediger about her customer’s enthusiasm. She laughed, “when it’s winter, people ask when the strawberries are coming. As soon as they’re out, they ask about raspberries. When they show up, everyone wants to know about blueberries.”

What’s the rush? Our season is already so quick. We live where the sun isn’t warm all the time. But when it is, it’s our turn for our fruit and vegetables.

Waiting is hard. We’re not used to it. And we don’t have to if we don’t want to. We can eat berries in winter. If we want to. They travel to us by air and truck from far away. While the driver stops for dinner, the berries and tomatoes, and peaches, or whatever, sit in their crates stacked upon each other in the back of the eighteen wheeler. In the cool dark so they last longer and stay pretty. Like virtual fruit.

Sometimes, a lot, actually, I see people buy the imported version and leave the local even though the two of whatever are side by side. I know the lower price is attractive (strange isn’t it, a system where food from far away is less than food from down the road? More on this another time). But I also think people want the perfect ones, the ones that promise what ours actually give. It’s our sun that makes our food taste good.

So, this is what you do: forget the pretty pictures. Forget the having it all anytime we want thing. When ours is here, eat as much of it as you can. Until you can’t stand it any more. Imprint it on your brain and pull the memory out in November. Sigh a wistful sigh and wait. Let your heart pine.

That’s how you do local.