Saturday, April 24, 2010

On My Bookshelf: Animal Vegetable Miracle

You may remember a couple of months ago, I shared about Clean Energy, Common Sense. Well, I'm reading another TGW-related book that I thought was worth sharing: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver.

First, let me confess that I have not finished this book and probably won't for a while. It is SLOOOOOW going. Interesting, but super slow. I don't know why - usually I'm a really fast reader. This one is just killing me.

BUT...I still love it. As we affectionately call it in my book club, AVM makes you think about your relationship with food. Basically, the author and her family move from a water-hogging community in Arizona to their family farm in West Virginia, and after adjusting to the lifestyle a bit, make the decision to eat only locally grown food for one year.

The book chronicles their adventures (and misadventures) and shares some tasty recipes along the way.

While chances are good that I'll never move to the family farm, there are some things this book really drove home the point about eating local. My first post-AVM attempt was hosting book club feeding my guests only local, organic, and seasonal food (and wine). I thought for sure Whole Foods could hook me up. WRONG! I did find things that were local, organic, and seasonal...but very few items that met more than one of the categories. For example, even though asparagus is seasonal in Virginia in early spring, the only asparagus in the store was from Mexico. Argh!

I've had similar experiences shopping at farm stands/farmers markets. One time last summer I stopped by a farm stand on Maryland's Eastern Shore...only to find nectarines with "Product of California" stickers. Double argh!

So, what did I do (besides resolve to be better about looking at labels)? I joined a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). My first pick up isn't for a while yet, but the farm sends newsletters every week detailing life on the farm and updates on our veggies, fruit, and eggs... This week, papa bear got into the bee hives - uh oh!

I'm very excited about the prospect of CSA veggies (mine is Bull Run Mountain Farm) and hope that I can truly make the transition to thinking about food more holistically!
Many thanks to Kingsolver and AVM for giving me the push that I needed to try something new!


Anonymous said...

I'm glad to see someone mentioning this book. Although slow... its refreshing and enlightening in regards to "food for thought". Their family farm is actually in VA in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Enjoy the read..and when possible Eat and Drink Local!

reFind said...

Just finished "Little Heathens" by Mildrid Armstrong Kalish. How she grew up completely self sufficient in depression era Iowa. Most of America did at that time. What a gift. Will definately read AVM. Thanks.

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