Thursday, June 7, 2007

Thinking Globally, Eating Locally

If you also read Onkel Hankie Pants’ blog (see sidebar), you will know that we have been buying all our meat from Bisson’s Meat Market, a farm/meat processor/market in Topsham, our neighboring town across the mighty Androscoggin. Tonight we’ll be having a meat loaf made with beef, pork and veal, all from there. The poultry at Bisson’s comes from a farm in another town less than 100 miles from here. Bisson’s also makes their own butter, and sells unpasteurized milk and chicken, pork and salmon pies (three different pies) made by the elder Mrs. Bisson. As we drive to the market, we can often see the cattle grazing in the fields. The Bissons, of French-Canadian ancestry, have been farming these fields for over 75 years.
I’ve been reading several books touching on this subject lately. Bill McKibben’s Deep Ecology was probably the most relevant to our situation, since he and his family live in northern Vermont, near Lake Champlain. One section of the book relates their experiment in local eating – I believe they used the 100-mile limit, which in their case let them go into New York State and Quebec. They were actually able to find flour made from wheat grown inside their limit, though with some difficulty. And apparently they are not addicted to tea or coffee, as Onkel Hankie Pants and I are.
Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, while not specifically about local eating, did touch on the subject in addition to discussing meat from huge industrial feedlots, organic growing, and foraging for one’s own food. And the book I’m reading now, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, describes another year of local eating in a slightly more temperate climate, that of Virginia. (They get asparagus in April there!) The family did allow themselves one non-local item each. Recipes are included, and I would highly recommend this book as a readable introduction to the “locavore” movement.
I’m not quite ready to be quite so stringent, but we do try to buy as much locally-grown or at least Maine-produced food as possible. My coffee comes from Wicked Joe, who roast their organic, fair-trade beans over on Water St. where we sometimes walk the dog. (They also sell tea, but Onkel H. is loyal to Red Rose, because he gets a little ceramic animal with each box.)
In our refrigerator right now there is Winter Garden mustard from Eastport, ME . When we want lobsters, we go to Allen’s Seafood because Dain was a good friend of my father’s, and the lobsters are really fresh!
Maurice Bonneau's Sausage Kitchen in neighboring Lisbon has a wide variety of sausages, though we have not yet succeeded in persuading Mr. Bonneau to make us any medisterpølse!
We can always find Aroostook County potatoes in the supermarket, and from May to October there is a Farmer’s Market twice a week on the Mall (Brunswick’s version of the Common or Green, as they’re known in other New England towns) on Tuesdays and Fridays. On Saturday there is a larger market at Crystal Spring Farm.
As you can tell, this has been an exercise in linking! I didn’t link the books, though, because I think you should buy them from your favorite local independent bookstore. I like Gulf of Maine Books and not only because my brother works there.
So, think about it. How can you eat more locally this year?

1 comment:

Sisterknits said...

Nice post!

I am thinking about starting a book group that is not associated with any other group (i.e. church, school, work...) and maybe local food eating books would be a good choice!

Thanks for sending me deep ecology by the way, I will start it when I finish the IIC series!!