Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Yes, it is true that there are certainly places in the DFW area to buy local and/or organic and if I am going to complain about the "difficult" shopping places, I should congratulate the places that work toward a more socially, politically and environmentally positive shopping experience. Tyra's comment rightfully mentions Healthy Approach in Colleyville which is so conveniently located off of 121, there is just no excuse for people looking to make healthy consumer choices not to shop there. For those committed to local purchasing, you'll still need to look past the imports and be diligent about finding out where things are coming from, but they rate high in my world, especially for those of us who sometimes can't get around the need for one-stop shopping. There are many local farmer's markets too. The best I've found so far is on Saturday mornings in Coppell (which has great ethical choices for your dairy, veggie, fruit, plant, baked goods and even worm needs). Grapevine has a smaller, but very good farmer's market Thursdays and Saturdays. The little goat farm in Keller (Homestead) has a nice little selection of goat cheese, milk, eggs (pre-ordered) and in-season, local produce and they are open on Saturdays. Each city here also seems to have its own 7-day a week "farmer's market" which is always (in my experience thus far) a small, free-standing store with red trim. From city to city they seem to vary in their produce inventory. They do a great shop of stocking local honey, sauces, jams, pickled items and other pantry items. They carry produce both from local farms and from farther-away states and countries. In Bedford, I witnessed staff over and over again trying to push the California peaches over the Texas peaches because they "tasted better." Such experiences make me sad, but I am still a regular shopper there because they do carry a good selection of local items, they are close to my apartment and they are open until 8pm on weeknights.

The places that really get me going are the bigger markets though--Central Market proudly displays its international fruit and vegetable selection with such a scant offering of local produce that I sometimes forget which country I am in. And Albertsons, Tom Thumb...well we just won't go there. The fact is, it is cheaper for people to import tomatoes from Mexico or from South America even when there is an abundance of them being plucked from plants throughout the region. The other fact is that it is easier for us as consumers to buy these gas-guzzling tomatoes because seeking them out in farmer's markets and produce stands can be more than we, as consumers, are willing to do. So while I am critical of our choices here, I am really just angry that we, as a nation, have gotten to this point. I am however very, very grateful for the markets who go against the majority, who take financial risks and make choices that are much better for our environment, its people, and our economic and social health. And if I were ruler of all things, one of my first tasks would be to find local super-market shelves for every piece of ethically-grown produce. In the meantime, I do what I can to buy locally and ethically...and I rant to anyone who will listen.


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