|Bacon and Egg Tarts|
I made the bread myself, with wheat from a local farm and butter from a local dairy. The eggs came from one of the DDH's coworkers. The milk and bacon came from a dairy and farm in the area.
Only the cheese (and the other ingredients in the bread: sugar, salt, yeast) came from a store. Something has to give in our food budget, and we eat far too much cheese at this point in our life (nachos being our standby I-don't-feel-like-cooking meal), and the local cheese selections are so limited, that we still get Sam's Club cheese.
Given that Oklahoma is such an agricultural state, sometimes I'm surprised at how limited our local food opitons can be. We don't have a year-round farmer's market, for instance.
But the options are there.
We have an every-other-week online order food pickup in the winter, from which we get all that dairy and the eggs (usually; this is the first time we've had coworker-eggs) and bacon.
We have a local butcher/rancher from whom we get most of our meat.
And during the growing season we have several different markets from which I get all of our produce that I don't grow myself.
A lot of this food is more expensive than conventional supermarket versions (in-season produce often being the exception), though not necessarily more expensive than all-natural or organic supermarket versions. We eat less meat than when I bought it all at Sam's Club, and as I said, we still get our main cheese there because it's so expensive otherwise.
And while I firmly believe in the principles of supporting local businesses and responsible farming and ranching practices, I totally understand not being able to afford those things. I've been there. Trust me.
But there's usually something you can do, if those values are important to you.
Growing your own produce is cheap and possible even for most apartment dwellers.
Maybe you pick one item that matters the most--eggs, or milk, or meat--and make an effort to buy that one item locally.
It makes a difference.
And when you're able to make an entire meal and think, not only did I make this for my family with my own two hands, but I have met, personally, all of the people involved in producing this food--well, that's a wonderful feeling.
I know this comes across as a self-righteous or look-how-awesome-I-am feeling, but that's not what I mean. It's just a feeling of belonging to a community, of being an active participant in a system rather than a passive one, of taking charge of what is an integral part of all our lives: food.
We all have to eat. Let's make what we eat good, in as many senses of the word as we can.