Shopping Lesson

I went to the Park Slope Food Co-op today to buy cat food (GT is not on the 250-mile diet). While I was there, I decided to peruse the produce and bulk dry goods sections of the store just to see if there might actually be something I could still buy. I knew, of course, that I’d be going quickly past the produce from Mexico, California, Florida, or the generically labeled “USA”. I had even prepared myself to leave out those items I used to feel so good about buying, the ones the co-op labels “locally grown within 500 miles.” No problem, I thought. The co-op does label the produce from three New York farms, so I’ll just stick to those.

Wait, stop, do not pass go, do not put those green beans into your shopping basket. Not all of New York state is within the circle of the 250. I wasn’t sure where the farm those beans came from was, so I had to put them back. I also reluctantly returned some cheddar cheese labeled “New York State” with no particulars.

Once I got home I did a little online sleuthing and found out that of the farms the co-op lists by name, two of the three are within my circle (I could have gotten the beans after all). One is actually less than 100 miles away, so I can include its excellent produce in the occasional 100-mile meal I plan to make. I’d thought I’d been paying attention to where my food came from before the 250, but this is definitely taking it to the next level!

I’ve noticed other shifts in my attention and priorities already as a result of starting the 250-mile diet. Recently I found some perfectly ripe elderberries that the birds hadn’t gotten to yet. I started out picking them in a somewhat relaxed mood. Foraging for elderberries is a nice thing to take time out for in the midst of a full time, multi-employer urban work schedule. I daydreamed about what I would do with them. Jelly maybe? Or syrup? And then I thought, in an entirely un-dreamy mental voice, “Girl, you’re not going to need condiments, you’re going to need food.” Right. I picked up the tempo…

and now have four pounds of elderberries in my freezer.elderberryhandweb.jpg

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