Grit Blogs > Waking up in Kansas

On Being a Locavore

By K.C. Compton


Tags: Fieldstone, blackberry,

Berries

We locavores certainly do eat well – even when we don’t even know that’s what we are.

As a kid growing up in rural Oklahoma, I belonged to a family of seasonal locavores – so very hip before my time. Locavore, as you probably already know, is the hot new word these days, denoting someone who eats food grown locally. The definition of “local” is a somewhat moving target – some say within 100 miles, others within 300. In my family, most summer evenings, that meant within 50 yards.

Last night was an echo of those garden-fed dinners of my youth. My neighbors Ken and Nancy invited me over for a lamb chop. I brought the wine – the only non-local item on the menu – and we had a dinner so congenial I barely wanted to leave the table.

The lamb chops were from a neighbor just up the road and were grilled to sweet perfection. Four varieties of tomato came from Ken and Nancy’s garden: Black Kilm; Celebrity; Beefsteak and an orange tomato the name of which I didn’t learn. Nancy had prepared a cucumber and onion “pickle” (OK, I don’t think the vinegar was local) and I brought some ‘Peaches and Cream’ corn I had purchased in Kansas City from the Hen House grocers there (kudos to Hen House for their great work in offering as many local products as possible!).

Berry BasketDessert was hardly needed, but irresistible once Nancy brought it out: A communal bowl of fresh, nectar-sweet cantaloupe chunks and some of the big-as-kiwi-fruit blackberries from Ken and Nancy’s South 40. That color combination of cantaloupe and blackberry never fails to knock me out.

We had supper out on the enclosed porch overlooking the pond and watched my dogs and cat cavort across the lawn between us and the water The dogs occasionally came and pressed their noses to the window to let us know how willing they were to help us polish off any lamb chop remains, but the pooches were sadly out of luck. Not a scrap remained, only sharp little bones I didn’t feel comfortable sharing with my greedy little guys.

As we finished off the last of the wine bottle, the evening dwindled to twilight and a yawn made its way around the table, person to person, starting with me. Satiety, achieved.

I can’t imagine who could want more from a meal.

Photos by Nancy Krause

kc
8/26/2008 9:13:02 AM

Thanks. They have been a huge treat -- and a great excuse to take the dogs to the top of the orchard every morning. Sadly, all pleasant things pass, and this, too, is just about over. I went up yesterday morning to get some berries for breakfast and only ended up with about a half cup. But that was enough for my granola and oh-boy, were they sweet. --KC


taylor miller
8/26/2008 8:28:19 AM

KC -- I want some of your blackberries. I covet your blackberries. =-D


taylor miller
8/26/2008 8:28:05 AM

KC -- I want some of your blackberries. I covet your blackberries. =-D


cindy murphy
8/24/2008 8:44:50 AM

(I wish this thing had a 'modify post' thingy or that I would learn not to get so rambly so the tail end of my comment doesn't get cut-off) To continue where my comment hangs mid-sentence... ...and for adding to my mile-high 'gotta-read' list a book from a favorite author. Who woulda thought you could do all that from withing 50 yards of your own backyard? Thanks again, and enjoy your day.


cindy murphy
8/24/2008 8:36:08 AM

Hello, KC. While your meal sounds scrumptious, and that basket of blackberries looks good enough to dive into head-first, it's the tag-line on the home page that brought me in here to see what all the 'loca'mmotion was all about, (I've since been singing in my head, 'Come on, Baby, do the loca-mmotion). I like to support the farmers in the area by buying local when I can; it kills me that our grocery store will stock produce imported from other states and countries when we have all these fresh commodities available now in season. I'm one of those locavores that didn't know I was a locavore; I've never heard the word before this. (It sounds like train-eater, and boy, was I way off track on that one.) Along with being a locavore, I'm also one of those weird people that eats up new, unfamilar words as a locavore would eat up fresh, juicy tomatoes from their backyard garden, (though I tend to use the same words over and over again; it's eco-friendly - I recycle when I can). So of course I had to do a quick football-style two-minute Internet drill on the word to see what I've been missing. I learned that "locavore" made its debut in San Franciso during the World Environment Day 2005, and that the word was The New Oxford American Dictionary's word of the year in 2007. Funny that a term describing something as local is so wordly...oops, worldly. I also learned that one of my favorite authors, Barbara Kingsolver, is an advocate of eating local foods, and chronicles her family's attempts at being locovores in her book "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle". So thanks, KC, for a wonderful description of a wonderful meal, for the introduction to me of a word I didn't know, and one that I have to pass on to another "wordly" friend in Indiana who owns a cafe specializing in home brewed herbal teas, and vegan dishes made from locally grown produce, and for adding to my mile-hig