When Foods Were Local

Discussion in 'Food & Drinks' started by Ken Anderson, Mar 25, 2017.

  1. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    Growing up in the UP of Michigan, other than canned pineapples, they were never available in the stores. One of the things that was special about the Christmas season, strangely enough, was that this was the only time of the year when oranges and tangerines were available and, probably because of this, they were terrific.

    Strawberries were in abundance when it was time for the strawberry harvest in Michigan, but they were hugely expensive at any other time of the year.

    There was certainly the capability of transporting foods long distances because, for some reason, there were always bananas and lemons in the produce section, and they certainly weren't grown locally. But most of the foods in the produce section were grown locally, not necessarily in our town, but within the region.

    We had Michigan potatoes rather than Idaho potatoes, I know, because that was one of the crops my dad grew. Because we grew potatoes as a cash crop every few years and grew enough for our ourselves every year, we rarely bought potatoes in the store, but I know that the ones my dad grew were sold locally.

    One year, either he grew an unusually large crop or all of the farmers together, in the area, produced a large crop of potatoes, so that the crops were harvested by migrant labor and probably transported to other parts of the country, but usually our crops were harvested by local people and sold to local markets.

    Now, although Aroostook County, Maine is known for its potato production, most of the potatoes that we find in our markets are from Idaho or Canada, and when I lived in the Rio Grande Valley, where they grow citrus, most of the oranges in the grocery stores were from Florida or California.
     
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  2. Missy Lee

    Missy Lee Well-Known Member
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    Where I live there are many greenhouses so we do get things like tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers home grown most of the year. The sad part is that the hydro rates in Ontario under a Liberal government have forced a few of these greenhouse operators to think about moving their operations to the USA.
     
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  3. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
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    We have at least one local farmer's market that is open all summer long, and we can get fresh local produce from there. Most of it is grown right here and sold by the farmers; but they also sell some foods from the Amish that are not quite local, like honey and some jams or relish that are canned and in jars.
    I do like that we can have fresh produce all year around, even when it comes from some other country, like Mexico or even South America. I also remember when we didn't see things like fresh pineapple at the store, and even apples were mainly in the fall when they were in season.
    In Idaho, there were always lots of fruit stands during the summer, and we would get the fresh melons, tomatoes, and other fruits and veggies when they were picked fresh and in season. They have that at the farmer's market here, but not as much as in Idaho where the stands were all over.
     
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  4. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    We have farmer's markets too, as well as an Amish store, but grocery stores tend to allot a small amount of space for locally grown produce, probably because they can be ensured year-round delivery of the same produce from international suppliers, while local suppliers can supply it only once a year.
     
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  5. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    I would think most of our produce is local but who knows. In some supermarkets I'll see sections that are marked locally produced, not that much cheaper.

    Either are the farmers markets I've gone to here. Not cheap and it doesn't even look like it came off their farm.

    Except for the strawberry stands.

    At least today I got an avocado for $1.79 at Trader Joe's which is better than the over ripe ones Safeway was selling for $2.49 each.
     
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  6. Babs Hunt

    Babs Hunt Veteran Member
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    Lafayette has a few Farmer's markets in each section of our City. When I was married to my ex our home was right down the street from Corner Pantry (a mom and pop grocery) that held the Farmer's Market on their back lot at least 3 mornings a week and also sold local produce inside their store. As far as I know this is still going on but it is quite a ways from where I live now so I haven't been to this in years.

    We have a few friends (including our Landlord) who grow big gardens and always share their abundance with us and then as I have mentioned before my Honey brings home quite a bit of produce from his job.

    Quite a bit of rice is grown here in Louisiana, as well as the sugar cane that produces sugar, etc. I'm pretty sure sweet potatoes are local too. I would think the big cities have a harder time getting really fresh local produce but here in Lafayette there is plenty of fresh pickings!
     
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  7. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Very Well-Known Member
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    @Ken Anderson
    You illustrate the imponderables associated with the marketing of produce, something my Mother remarked often about when I was a kid. We understood that during a Chicago winter, certain common veggie or fruits simply were not displayed in our grocery stores, which were then mounted on the springboard to become "supermarkets". We had many "Mom & Pops" yet, back then. Those folks drove to the "markets" in downtown Chicago somewhere, a name comes to mind of a place I heard of often, "South Water Market". I shall have to search that one.

    Anyhow, much late Fall stuff from California found it's way to our stores. We Midwesterners thought that California had produce-producing weather year-round, which many parts of the state do. We knew nothing of produce possibilities from Mexico, nor it's weather. We had no clue that citrus might be picked, ripe and wonderful, in the Arizona Desert in November, while a mere 100 miles away 5 feet of snow lay on the ground. The extremes of mountainous desert I only learned about after moving to Las Vegas.

    Also, less canned vegetable offerings were available back then, as I remember things, than now, but I could be a bit foggy on that one.
    Frank
     
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