Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Crops In Their Season* : Local Products

We've been oh-so-gradually moving toward "slow food" and eating more locally. As a cook, Paul has always been a big advocate of having things "in their season" because that is when quality is highest.

So we tend not to buy fresh tomatoes except locally grown during the summer, and we much prefer Texas citrus (although Florida citrus is very good in a pinch), which is available only during the winter.

Today, we are very concerned to support our local economy and conserve resources, and we favor those companies that are located within Texas and nearby states such as Oklahoma and Louisiana. Local companies use less fuel getting it to us, and small companies generally use more sustainable packaging.

I love the packages in the photo, don't you? So simple, so utilitarian - these companies are "green" by their nature and not because some marketing firm told them to be. Nothing is more true to vintage living than this.

There are some things we really need to have year round. My garden is helping provide staples such as onions and peppers. Friends have shared their fruit with us, and I have also bought from near-by "U-PIC" orchards and gardens.

Two great resources are:

PickYourOwn.Org is a wonderful directory of pick-your-own farms near you. It covers all the United States and some foreign countries, and lets you drill down to the local level very easily. The site is kept updated frequently, and welcomes suggestions and corrections.

The Texas Dept of Agriculture's "Go Texan" program is a great help when shopping. I don't even have to be consciously looking but the "Go Texan" Logo catches my eye as I scan the shelves in the grocery store. You can go to the website and search out products too, if you like to plan your shopping.

By the way, the "Morton's Chili Blend" in the picture is an old brand that my family has used all my life. Pawpaw's recipe for chili specifies using this (we'll make some this winter when it is cold out). Made by an Amarillo company, this bag was packaged by "Disability Resources" of Abilene.

*Title quote is from Acts 14:17

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