Hither & Yon
by Roxanne Garcia
“Hither and yon,” as my aunt used to say. I am applying that saying to “do you know where your food comes from?” Last time I checked, most of the food I eat comes from within a 200 mile radius. Of course I get most of my food from the farmers’ market, however (and it’s a big however) I did have an excursion to the grocery store last week because the recipe I was attempting called for lemons. Now, lemons aren’t really in season at this time, and I really don’t like bottled lemon juice, so there I was standing in front of a pile of lemons under the fluorescent lighting of the supermarket. Picking up one lemon, I read the sticker. Besides the PLU number, the words “Produced in CHILE” were printed on the label. Taking into consideration that Chile is 5,224 miles away (verses, say, Florida at 1,781 miles), I attempted to locate a lemon produced in the United States.
Often we are in need of some particular ingredient that isn’t in season and isn’t available locally. What does one do? Luckily for us in the US we do have produce available seven days a week, nearly 24-7. However if you are a diligent shopper and want to lessen your carbon footprint and be more ‘green’ but you absolutely need that lemon, the best possible choice you can make is to find that USA sticker, which I did. (But I was only able to locate two!)
So what does all this mean? It means that we must change our expectations, move in a direction that goes back to “hither and yon,” when people like my aunt and grandmother lived without using real lemons and simply found another way. It also means that this coming January, when lemons are all abound at the markets, you will find me squeezing that most appreciated local lemon juice into ice cube trays to freeze. And all the while I will be reducing my footprint, I will be conserving the precious fossil fuels that it takes to get those lemons to the grocery store, I will be supporting my local lemon grove and I will know exactly where my food comes from.