ReLocavore: Redefining "local"

Back to Wisconsin, my cheesehead friends

This week in veg: Fruit!


20130711-151648.jpg This week, we became began receiving our fruit share. In the box this week were:

1. Hass avocados from Carpetina, CA
2. Grapes. Coachella valley, CA
3. peaches (no origin mentioned in the newsletter)
4. White nectarines from Oregon
5. Blueberries from New Jersey

So you’ll scan the list above and ask yourself, “what’s so local about that? Your fruit is coming from all over the country!”

Here’s the way I look at it. We live way up north, and there’s only so many things that are actually able to grow in our climate. The fruit that grows local includes: rhubarb, strawberries, blueberries, apples, and cranberries. How fruit share works is they collaborate with farms across the country, to grow fruit in the way that is most sustainable for that area. When fruit in one geographic area is ripe, it’s shipped to a central location boxed up and then distributed out to fruit share members. Fruit share makes extra effort to offset the carbon cost of growing and harvesting the fruit, and transporting fruit across the country.

I could spend another thousand words trying to explain the cognitive dissonance of describing our fruit box from all over the US, but… Ultimately it boils down to this: our CSA in Wisconsin used to offer us fruit share as part of our delivery, we signed on, and we got really spoiled by having good fruit all summer long. We get extra fruit and put it in the freezer for the winter time. And it’s become a main component of our diet. So we have it again here in New Hampshire.

Fruit hypocrite? You tell me in the comments.

5 thoughts on “This week in veg: Fruit!

  1. Don’t waste your breath to justify. There is nothing wrong with wanting to eat good food. Regardless of where it was grown. Wish you were here to help me with our Northern Illinois red raspberries. Making jam today, and yes, you will be a recipient.

    • Thanks for the vote of confidence. I feel (internally) that if I’m going to have a blog about local foods, that I’m supposed to be some uberkind that never, ever, eats anything that isn’t from New Hampshire or Vermont.

      I miss raspberries. I found a couple of currant bushes, tho… so I’ll get some red current jam!

    • Also think about sending some to Savvy Spoon catering. She’s featuring home-made jams!

  2. Fresh local fruit is great, but you also have to deal with the vagaries of the local harvest. One year, I was able to get peaches, apples, pears, and/or Asian pears every week from one vendor at the farmer’s market every week during the summer. (They had a stand right next to my CSA pick-up, which made it even more convenient.) The next year, I only saw them once, and I haven’t seen them since. A late frost killed all but five peaches on our fruit tree last year. With any hope, this will be the first time we have a peach harvest so abundant that I will get sick of eating peaches, which is exactly what I want.

    • Oh boy, let me tell you… A surplus of peaches? I may be there to help can Peach Butter… It’s a great way to use up blemished or ugly peaches.

      Peach butter:
      Quarter peaches, remove pit and reddish inner pith. Puree peaches in the food processor or food mill. Heat oven to 250F. Spread peach puree in a shallow, heavy pan, like the bottom of a broiler pan. Bring to 250F in the oven over about 2 hours. Lower the oven to 100F and leave for 6-8 hours until a thick consistency.* Stir every 2 or so hours to make sure the fruit on the edges doesn’t get drier than the middle. (Note: you can also do this on the stovetop, but you have to stir more often due to the concentration of heat on the bottom of the pan.) Taste for tartness. If the mixture is too tart, add sugar to taste.

      Once thick, pack into clean, hot half-pint jars. Lid and seal with rings. Process in a water bath canner for 25 minutes or in a pressure cooker at 15 psi for 15 minutes.

      *The Ball Complete Guide to Home Preserving has this advice on when your fruit butter is thick enough: butters are cooked until they thicken and begin to hold their shape on the spoon. To assess doneness, spoon a small quantity of cooked mixture onto a chilled plate. When liquid does not separate, creating a rim around the edge, and the mixture holds a buttery, spreadable shape, the butter is ready to ladle into jars and process.

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