Last night, as I told my friend Alison (who is an amazing pastry chef) that I’d just eaten trout from the White River, caught this summer, and mashed turnips from a local farmer’s land, she commented that I was a locavore.
I’d never heard the term before, so I did what all of us do when we hear new terms–Googled it. I found this definition:
A locavore is a person interested in eating food that is locally produced, not moved long distances to market. The locavore movement in the United States and elsewhere was spawned as interest in sustainability and Eco-consciousness became more prevalent.
This is true about me now. However, the reasons for my locavore-ness might surprise you. I’m not what I’d consider an environmentalist. I don’t even recycle at home. I don’t visit the farmer’s market, carry my own grocery bags around, or eat all organic foods.
I live in the Ozarks, and I’m blessed to be surrounded by an abundance of wildlife that’s not just edible but also delicious and healthy, including deer and fish. I’m blessed with 43 acres of land, and the ability and opportunity to plant a large garden in the spring and turnips in the fall. I’m blessed to be with someone who is a wildlife biologist and knows which mushrooms are safe to eat and which aren’t and added some wild morels to our stir fry last week. Ever had wild sassafras tea? I hadn’t either until we moved here.
For me, it’s not about making a statement. It’s just about doing what makes sense. I enjoy hunting and fishing, and so does James. Not only do we spend time doing something we enjoy, but we also save hundreds of dollars every year which we’d otherwise spend on beef and fish from other states or even other countries. Trout are one of the most sustainable fish in our rivers, so instead of purchasing imported Swai from Vietnam in place of American catfish, I prefer to “live off the land” as often as I can. Living off the land also makes sense because it’s a healthier way to live. Deer, if processed properly, is an incredibly lean red meat. And who doesn’t know about the Omega-3 benefits from eating fish? Eating our own vegetables has benefits as well. Not only are they truly organic, but they’re also pretty cheap in comparison to store-bought or even farmer’s market vegetables, not to mention delicious.
This lifestyle wouldn’t work for everyone for all kinds of reasons, and I know that. It works for us, and that’s why we do it.
When I started dating James, I found a magnet at Barnes & Noble featuring a quote by Teddy Roosevelt.
“Do what you can, where you are, with what you have.”
So that’s what we do.