Sunday, April 13, 2008

Eating Locally: Eggs - it's what's for dinner

Eggs and toast are one of my favorite meals. There's just something about dipping warm, buttered toast into a beautiful gooey mass of yolk. But when I get up in the morning, I'm not really hungry for anything heavy (usually just fruit and tea) so I end up eating most of my breakfasts at dinnertime.

As I was cracking the egg into the pan last evening and admiring the beautiful orange yolk that stood up so tall and proud, knowing that the eggs bought this weekend were gathered last week in this very community, I felt a certain satisfaction at being so connected to my food.

No, I didn't raise the chicken and no, I didn't gather her eggs, but Joe does. Joe, just like many other local egg producers, cares for his hens. Each week, he gently gathers their eggs, puts them to rest in cartons, and brings his cartons to the farmers market on Saturday morning (rain or shine, warm or cold) where he greets me with a wonderful smile and a dozen of the freshest eggs in town.

And you'll find the same quality, care, and dedication in each of the vendors - all eager to display and discuss the fruits (quite literally) of their labor.

Eating locally is about supporting individuals who care deeply about the food they provide and the land that produced it. It's about sustainable farming practices so that year after year, these farmers can provide the healthiest, tastiest product for a customer they will meet face-to-face. And by meeting farmers at the market, by supporting them directly instead of the middle-man grocery stores (where farmers receive pennies on the dollar for their hard work), in continuing to build a relationship with them each and every week, in keeping my money in my local community, I become an integral part of a very healthy ecosystem.

I love knowing from where my food comes, that it is whole and nutritious. I love knowing the care that brought it from the earth to my plate. And every time I hear about a food recall, whether from spinach or peanut butter or beef or pot pies or last week's cereal recall, I love knowing I'm in good hands.

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