I read a great book a few weeks ago and by the time I finished I was trying to figure out how to dig up the back yard for a garden. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver describes how the author and her family ate for a year on only those things that had been grown or processed locally. What an inspiration! And how lucky we are to live in South Carolina where we have the option of so many great locally-grown foods (especially if you include the entire state, not just the county). We have a dairy in Clemson, we can get rice and tea from down near Charleston, there are berry farms galore. Adluh Mills in Columbia produces flour and cornmeal from wheat and corn grown primarily in this state. We really could live quite well in South Carolina without importing food long distances…and our winters would be far easier than Barbara Kingsolver’s since there are some things that can grow here almost year-round.

As I thought about what I would miss if we were to try the same experiment, I realized that I really wouldn’t miss very much.

  • Coffee – Maybe, but I think I could switch to tea pretty easily.
  • Tomatoes in the winter – The tomatoes we get in the grocery stores today aren’t worth missing.
  • Avocados – I might have to try to grow a small avocado tree.
  • Ease of planning – It IS nice to be able to go into the grocery store and just pick up whatever strikes your fancy. Would I miss this ability or relish the challenge to come up with good dishes using seasonally available foods? There’s a large part of me that thinks this would be a fun challenge.
  • Dark chocolate – This might have to be the exception.

Our schedule doesn’t really lend itself to gardening so instead of digging up the back yard and risking the septic tank, we have joined a CSA for the spring and summer seasons. CSA stands for community supported agriculture. Essentially we pay a local farmer up front for a share of the season’s produce. My goal for these seasons is to use ONLY the produce that we receive from our CSA that week. I’ll still buy our dairy, grains, and legumes from the store but I’m going to try not to buy anything from the produce section during the time that we receive food from the CSA. Come springtime, I’ll let you all know how that goes! I’m looking forward to finding innovative ways to use the food that we receive. I’m also looking forward to being more involved with the food we eat. CSA farms usually welcome extra hands and Kyle and I hope to plan a field trip or two out to the farm where our summer food will be growing. We’ve joined Five Leaves Farm. You can find a CSA near you at Local Harvest.