Thursday, October 20, 2011

Falling Off the Wagon

On Monday when I did the weekly grocery shopping with the boys I fell off the local foods wagon.  Maybe it's just the change in season and the fact that all the local peaches are gone.  Yes, apple season is here, but somehow I haven't been tempted to chomp down to the core of an apple much lately.  One thing or another has kept us from the farmer's market--travel, driving rain, the deliciousness of sleeping in on a Saturday when the kids will allow it--and everyone seemed to be craving something different as we trolled the Wegmans produce aisle.

"I want those," Boog pointed to boxes of strawberries.  I made a faint protest about how they weren't in season at all anymore, but then thought "what the heck?" and reached for a clear plastic box of perfect looking berries.  As we passed the rows of bananas, I remembered how much Bubba loves those, so I picked a bunch--I did stick to organic to make some concession to better eating. Prices for local chicken and beef suddenly seemed exorbitant, and I have had some time to forget the horrors of factory farm produced meat that Kingsolver laid out in her "Year Of" book.

Perhaps this is why a local foods lifestyle is so difficult to maintain.  There are so many options presented to us in even the most average grocery store (and Wegmans, still one of my favorite things about Rochester, is far above average!) it makes it hard to pass up a tasty looking out of season fruit or veggie.  In summer when I shopped for fruit and vegetables at the farmers market and farm stands, I bypassed the produce section of the grocery store almost completely, only buying what other stuff we'd need for the week to cook dinners, clean the house, and snack on in a relatively healthy manner (organic cheese puffs vs. nuclear glowing Cheetos!)  I made an effort to bypass as many aisles of processed foods as I could and make more at home--muffins, cookies, bread, my own roasted chilies that we still have in the freezer.

Now that the school year has started though, I have fallen into patterns set up so well by the food suppliers and grocery store planners.  I buy juice boxes and pre-packaged snacks for Boog's lunches, cookies and other baked goodies that we can all survive on in the morning.  I have recipe for pumpkin bread that's been waiting for me in my Better Homes cookbook for a good week now.  

It probably wouldn't take too much to hop back on the horse.  But at this point making the mental effort is half of the problem.  One of my projects for this fall was to make soup once a week and give that to Boog for a lunch and have leftovers.  So far I've made one somewhat ill-fated onion soup and haven't done any since.  Maybe when I get to reading Julie and Julia I will make a potàge some cool fall night. But somehow the planning has eluded me.

It would be nice to have had a garden I'd planted with enough food to can and freeze for the year, but since I live in an apartment complex, the local foods project will have to take on a new phase. Maybe I'll get a sun lamp and grow basil and oregano in our laundry room. Or maybe I'll commit to buying local meat since the best of the produce is waning.  I plan to keep writing about eating locally, even though the month for Kingsolver's book is up.  I might keep adding on topics from month to month so by the end of the year I could write about almost anything.  And that is a wagon I will fall off at my own peril.

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