COOKING: When will this "buy local" thing catch on to the big food chains?


We vacation in Michigan, and it is one thing I am amazed at is the quality of produce in this wonderful state. Now, what I don't understand is that where we go, it is only 2 hours away from Chicago proper. SO if it is only two hours away, why are the big food chains getting corn from Chile? Cherries and tomatoes from California? Peaches from Georgia? Onions and peppers from Mexico? Why, when I can stop at a farmer stand 2 hours away and get all this for half the price and the quality is outstanding? How much more money is it to drive a peach from Georgia that tastes like a potato versus a peach from Michigan that tastes like heaven? Is it because the food stores would have to charge less the closer the produce comes from? I really don't get it. It is an absolute crying shame. Michigan is in Illinois' backyard and the first time I have tasted a peach this summer the way a peach ought to taste is when I crossed the border into Michigan. What adds insult to injury is that these stores are starting to talk green with their recycling plastic bag programs and their green tote bags. But until they start really following a buying local business model, it really is all "green washing" to me. They need to walk the walk-not just talk the talk.

It was also very surprising that even some of these local growers are running into problems with other farm stands. We stopped at one stand that had peaches in half bushels that had a sign saying "home grown". My husband teased the owner, saying "versus what? We're in Michigan, right?" and the farmer said he had to put the signs up when a customer complained to him about a fellow farmer up the street who had peaches from Georgia he was selling at his stand and when pressed, admitted they were not locally grown. Evidently, commercialism even rears it's ugly head in the farm land, what a shame.

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