Main Entry: lo·ca·vore
Etymology: local + -vore (as in carnivore)
: one who eats foods grown locally whenever possible.
: one who may be slightly confused as to where chocolate/coffee/parmesan cheese (as well as other delicious treats) are, by nature, perfectly grown/made.
And this, dear readers, is the very thing Jason and I are in the process of becoming for the next three months. We have bought our tickets, packed our bags and boarded the aircraft. And wouldn't that be perfect if we were headed to Italy to wander streets eating gelato and whole wedges of parmesan cheese without a care in the world. But we are not flying to Italy or Portugal for some crisp Vinho Verde (thank you Liz for introducing me to the wine of my mid-twenties), or Colombia for a fresh brew of cafe au lait (more likely Nescafe), or California for avocados... No, we have boarded a crop duster of sorts with a single propeller and two seats, one in front of the other, on its way to rural Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky.
This transition has been a long time coming. I suppose it started a year and a half ago when we decided to join our friends Brooke and Aaron on an urban farming experience. We planned diligently through the winter and made many trips to fill the pickup truck with mushroom compost that spring. We raised 16 little technicolored chicks to their awkward teenage years and moved them into what we affectionately call "Lays Inn"- a condo of sorts in the back yard. We invested in a rain barrel to conserve rain water and made a schedule to weed, water and love on our young plants. Our beautiful garden sprouted, grew and produced a beautiful variety of beans, peppers, shallots, greens, etc.
Once we got over the fact that the 4-6 tomatoes that did grow were already sampled by the local wildlife, we remembered the potatoes that were still underground and hopefully ready to be fried/baked/boiled and otherwise consumed. This day was a highlight of the harvesting season. We dumped over our blue keg buckets, which were easily turned into the perfect place to grow potatoes with a few holes drilled in the bottom for drainage, and were rewarded with white potatoes ranging from the size of golf balls to baseballs. Now, I saw an episode of Jamie At Home (Jamie Oliver aka The Naked Chef aka the first Chef I had a crush on) where he was out in his garden harvesting potatoes. He is a real enthusiast about food and was just so excited about his (read with a British accent) “beutifool gems.” As I was admiring ours, it was just like there was no care in the world, and these potatoes could bring world peace! This may sound over the top and a huge exaggeration... but really it is only a minor exaggeration. It was truly a moment not to be forgotten.
We went on to digging up the sweet potatoes. This was a treasure hunt! The six of us (including Brooke and Aaron's two boys) were digging, clawing and scooping away soil almost in a competition to find the most. Some sweet potatoes were injured or severed by the sharp shovels, but most made it out alive with hopes of being mixed with brown sugar and topped with marshmallows. This is not my favorite way to eat a sweet potato though. The past couple of years at my parent’s home, the staple dish served at least 3 times a week is baked/grilled salmon and a microwaved sweet potato with butter. There is nothing like it! But that is off topic.
There have been a few choice documentaries, thanks to Netflix and our PS3, readily available to tip us over the edge and take the plunge into a lifestyle of producing the least waste possible, eating only food grown within 250 miles of the old 'nati and consuming NO take out or "wrapped food" (this is a little redundant as most any place you eat out is not local food, but we had to make it clear due to our fascination with Taco Bell and Chipotle).
We hope to answer a few questions in these months ahead. 1. Can we be happier/healthier while producing little to no waste? 2. Can we do more good than harm to our lovely "outdoors"?
Stay tuned and chip in your stories and thoughts!