Close to Home

Barbara Kingsolver and Steven Hopp might be nationally known for their book, Animal, Vegetable, Mineral, but closer to home they have a difficult time selling their ideas about living off of the land.  In the book, they chronicle a year-long mission to eat only what they grow or source locally in Meadowview, Va. This feat or feast is easy during this time of the year, when gardens are plentiful, but more daunting in the dead of winter.  I picked up a copy of the book a few years ago to find out what grows when on the family farm.  Though I stayed on the lookout for asparagus in early March and took my chances playing trick-or-treat with the persimmon tree after the first frost in October, it did not revolutionize my eating habits.

According to this New York Times article about Hopp’s locavore restaurant idea, their attempt to get locals to eat local hasn’t worked so well yet. That’s because of the price tag. When everyone has a garden rather than the more traditional paved and manicured curb appeal and a grandmother who can cook as good as any trained chef, they don’t need to fork over $15 for a “local” meal.  Going out to dinner means eating something that you wouldn’t fix at home, Chinese food, for example.

Coming from the city now, I would probably try the fare at The Harvest Table, if only for a taste of the ideal that Kingsolver and Hopp strive for.  Then I would drive to a favorite roadside burger stand to savor some homemade raspberry ice cream.  It’s seasonal as well, but for less than $2, it’s a treat that doesn’t have to boast about where it comes from.

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