One reader asked, following part 1 of this little series, what happens if my kids adore something, like mangoes, that aren't ever local? And what if they want something that just doesn't jive with my outlook? Great questions. Let's start with the first query. It is true that if you're a sincere, dedicated locavore, you're never going to eat certain things. Mangoes are not growing in DC as far as I know. But Mexico isn't New Zealand, and when champagne mangoes come into season, I cannot help but buy them by the bushel. Organic/local- it's a definite mental conversation.
I do make every effort to look for purveyors who source such products in a Fair Trade way, meaning that the growers and pickers are paid a fair, living wage, encouraged to create sustainable businesses that will generate regular incomes, and are not, to the best of my knowledge, exploited. When I buy unrefined cane sugar from Malawi, for example, I pay a little more despite the longer distance from me because I like supporting groups who hew to such a just mission. It is a balancing act in which I find myself often engaged. For example, there aren't many local, organic orchards; apples attract many pests, and as such, lots of farmers spray. Because apples are high on the "suck up LOTS of pesticides" list though, I tend to preference organic over locale for them which often results in me buying apples from Washington state rather than Virginia during certain months of the year.
If I think something defeats my purpose of organic/local and will be devoid of taste, then we simply say we'll enjoy it when its season comes round. See: previously discussed watermelon, winter tomatoes.
I haven't, thus far, had much difficulty with the second question, that about desired foods that go against my philosophical grain. Sodas, sugar cereals (other than the organic Cinnamon Toast Crunch that we all love) and really weird food products don't reside here -ever- and we don't eat fast food. Industrially-produced meat is the food about which I am most manic and I admit to doing my damnedest to ensure that the boys eat as little-to-none of it as possible. Otherwise, especially as they get older, I try to stay the path of "everything in moderation, including moderation" which I think was said by the wonderfully spirited Jacques Pepín. Agreed.
Tomorrow: what do these little boys actually eat?