When people find out I'm the food editor of a magazine dedicated to natural living (yes, it's a great job), I get asked a ton of wonderful, thoughtful questions. One of the most common involves “prioritizing” organic purchases, and on this I agree with the threads posted on Pamela's blog; I advise focusing first on organic dairy and then meat. But, as another reader pointed out, local is quickly becoming the new organic—something I think is an encouraging trend. While organics is a huge improvement over the who-knows-what's-in-this food we tolerated from Big Ag for way too long, I'm hoping that more and more people pick up on the related importance of buying and eating locally produced foods as often as possible—the benefits are vast, from better taste to supporting small-scale farms. I know I'll never find homegrown bananas here in freezing Colorado, but simply considering local first shifts my mindset from convenience to quality.
And it is doable—especially with the increasing availability of local produce delivery services. Our family recently subscribed to www.doortodoororganics.com. I get an email every week listing what fruits and veggies will be in the upcoming box, and you can even customize it; if you hate beets, for example (which is a shame; we'll talk later), you can swap them out for something else. Almost all items are sourced locally; for foods that don't grow here, such as citrus, DTD works with organic producers to ship them in.
My friend Amy, who told me about the service and who has three boys under age 5, says they enjoy being surprised by their box's contents every week; and it's made both of us more adventurous, cooking and eating vegetables we might otherwise pass up at the store. It's a simple connection to the seasons and to regional food producers—a small return to the way foods used to be eaten all the time.