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Buy Local, Tomorrow and Everyday
It's the weekend before Thanksgiving. Grocery lists are long. People are stocking up on turkey, sweet potatoes, cranberries, and all the other T-Day staples. But Saturday is also Buy Local Day, a day that's been set aside for all of us to bypass the big box stores and support the mom-and-pop shops in our communities. Buying local foods not only gives our local economies a pre-holiday boost, but it also cuts back on the gas, fuel, and energy required to transport goods to your hometown.
Sounds great, right? Theoretically, I'm all for it. But before signing on, I wanted to see how easy it would be to put the theory into practice. How practical is this idea on a busy shopping day before Thanksgiving? I pulled out my shopping list to double-check.
For this year's Thanksgiving feast, I've been asked to contribute wine and side dish made with cranberries or persimmons.
The wine is a no-brainer. A nearby vineyard produces excellent, affordable, locally-grown bottles of champagne. I can easily pick up a few bottles at a locally-owned wine shop in my neighborhood, rather than driving way out to the price club. It's slightly more expensive, but worthwhile, especially after I factor in driving several miles in traffic to save a couple bucks at an impersonal warehouse. The guys at my local wine shop know their wines. And they also know my name.
The side dish is a little more challenging. Cranberries don't grow here in the desert Southwest. Neither do persimmons.
Is it still local if I buy an imported product from a locally-owned store? I'm not sure. While mulling it over, I remembered that my neighbor had a bumper crop of quince this year. In fact, she tried to unload a bunch of it on me a couple of weeks ago, but I turned her down because I had no idea what to do with quince.
After two minutes of poking around the web, I found a great (and simple-looking) recipe for quince compote.
Turns out that buying local might demand a little flexibility. It might force us to venture outside our culinary comfort zones. But what's wrong with that? It's easier than it might sound.
The one catch is that this recipe calls for vanilla beans, which I don't have. Guess I'll just have to buy those on Sunday.