Spoiled by Freshness

Local foods
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We’ve been the unwilling victims in our recent travels of normal, average American food–vegetables and fruits breed for many things other than taste or even nutritional content, picked before ripe, shipped boxed, canned or frozen for a couple of thousand miles and prepared by indifferent and often unskilled hands and served with no pretense at anything more than making a profit. We had a meal at TGIFriday’s that was to die from.

It made us realize how much of what we eat these days comes from nearby–not everything, but a lot. And it costs to pay the real investment by local beef and produce growers to get their local products into local markets.

And once you get used to fresh, flavorful, responsibly-produced and local foods, it’s mighty hard to eat road food. It’s mighty easy to be spoiled by freshness.

It’s been a tough gardening year here; once again yesterday we drove through rain puddled on the roads until we were within a mile of the house, where the dirt road was dusty under the trees and only moist elsewhere. Roanoke and Blacksburg got record rainfall amounts yesterday for the date.

We are in a terrible rain shadow I cannot account for. But the creek–for now–still flows, and our garden, always later than most others as it is situated in this cold, shaded valley, will make beans, chard, tomatoes (at least Romas and tommie-toes), a few peppers and some hubbards and yellow squash. Meanwhile, we’ll stop often at Sweet Providence. If you haven’t visited the Houston’s place, you really should next pass down 221 east of town.

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Published by fred

Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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3 Comments

  1. Locally grown food is better for you, better for the local economy, and better for the planet. Unless you are living on the top of a high mountain where there is bedrock instead of soil, or perhaps in a very hot and dry desert, local food is going to be available. And if we plan ahead we can store it for use in winter!

    Now if I could just keep the woodchucks and deer out of my garden!

    Bill:www.wildramblings.com

  2. Yes, so much is at stake when we eat at restaurants. When I travel I bring my food from home. I can stock and travel for five days eating healthy food from home. . — barbara

  3. And the new Floyd Farmers’ Market has a bountiful selection of delicious naturally-grown produce, meat (if you are so inclined), and more.

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