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Quote of the Day: Robert Kourick

December 11th, 2009

“Though food is basic, it has become just another service.
Shopping at a supermarket, the buyer is dependent upon the limitations of modern agriculture. Supermarket produce is often mediocre – bland and travel worn. The airplane, the truck, and the train have made it possible to soothe cosmopolitan palates with almost any food, regardless of the season.”

-Robert Kourick
Check out this photo on Flickr, everything inside the fridge is labeled so you can read exactly what each item is.
I thought about this quote when I was cleaning out my fridge last week. I noticed that just about everything inside was sourced locally. Even my milk comes from only a few miles away, fresh from the cow the day after it’s milked. The last couple years our diets have gone from: a healthy diet, full of lots of supermarket veggies and fruits to a diet full of veggies and fruits from local sources. We’ve learning to love seasonal eating, not relying on broccoli for our vegetable of the week.
It’s been a wonderful adventure and I can’t imagine not eating this way. It is a bit of challenge in the beginning and can seem a bit overwhelming, but it gets easier as you find local sources for more things. I actually feel like I spend less time shopping and acquiring my food now that I do it locally and grow some of of my own. I’ll be doing a series soon about learning to eat locally, I hope you’ll share lots of great insights into your journey so we can help those that are trying to follow the same path.

What percentage of your diet is local, either from your own garden or other local growers?

26 Comments to “Quote of the Day: Robert Kourick”
  1. Carol on December 11, 2009 at 5:53 am

    Brava!! Important post. I buy local but my refrigerator does not look like yours! I eat at least 80 – 90 percent organic local. Local breads from some local grains, local goats cheese, local eggs, local apples (my own and others), blueberries (my own frozen), local kale, collars, carrots, parsnips, winter squash, garlic, local miso, Winter is tuff but you inspire me to get my act together. Impressive. Thank you for sharing this!
    .-= Carol´s last blog ..Watery Wordless Wednesday Snow Blossom Sunrise Walk II =-.

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  2. Teresa O on December 11, 2009 at 7:16 am

    You’re ready to start holiday baking and cooking! I’ve been thinking about making sour dough bread, but I’m not sure how to start the starter. Do you have an suggestions?

    When I was growing, canning, and making jellies and jams I never realized how foodie forward we were, but that’s just what was expected living on a farm.

    I thoroughly enjoy your blog. Thanks for sharing.
    .-= Teresa O´s last blog ..These Things I Love… =-.

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  3. tigress on December 11, 2009 at 7:48 am

    it is crazy how your fridge very closely resembles mine! pickles & jams of course, raw milk, homemade yogurt & cheese, local farm eggs, veggies from our garden, sourdough starters, and the ball and weck jars! the only thing that differs is meat because i don’t eat it.

    i never tried to figure out what percentage of my total food intake is local – i basically strive to purchase local all the time. spices, pasta (although i really need to have a go at making my own!) tea, and some oils are the only non-local things i stock regularly. i bought my olive oil from a farmer in sicily when i was there and brought it back, so i would consider that local-by-proxy!

    and i admit, i do by some fruit (i have two mangos in fridge) now and again that is not local. Citris is a big one, one of my next projects is to purchase a miniature meyer lemon and key lime tree and try to grow them inside.

    great post!
    .-= tigress´s last blog ..roast the toast: wild apple pie =-.

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  4. Mangochild on December 11, 2009 at 8:03 am

    All my fruit and veg is entirely local (less than 100 miles from my home, and often well under 30 miles). I can and freeze these for the winter and keep what I can in cool dry storage. Herbs are also local or home-grown. Canning is a new skill that I was quite daunted by, but I think it is just plunging in and doing it that ends the fear. That, and all the blogger support I got!

    Grains, I get locally when I can (cornmeal, buckwheat). We have a local whole-wheat and oat source, but I cannot eat gluten, so those are not an option. Instead, I use non-local whole-flours like millet and sorghum to make breads etc. that I can eat in my own kitchen. I buy brown rice from an organic family farm that I would want to support were I local to that area.

    I don’t eat meat/fish or dairy, so those are not in the picture, though I know we do have wonderful dairy farmers around there.

    Like you, I find I spend less time shopping and feel better about the relationships I have with the people who grow the food I eat. I’ve always cooked mainly at home, but it makes me more mindful of the seasonality of the nature of food as well as what it takes to get it from seed to table. That eggplant I enjoy at dinner takes a lot of tending to get there. It is somewhat of an adjustment, but one thing I’ve noticed is that eating seasonally means that when I am thoroughly sick of peaches 5 times a day in peak season, they are suddenly *out* of season and it is in with the apples! Though winter does make for a long stretch of winter squash, kale, and potatoes.

    Plus, its made me experiment more with recipes – I’ve learned more ways to use strawberries, peaches, and potatoes than I’d have thought possible!
    .-= Mangochild´s last blog ..Spotlight: 2009-2010 Dark Days Weeks Two and Three =-.

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    • tigress on December 12, 2009 at 7:49 am

      hi mangochild,
      i couldn’t help noticing your comment on canning. i’m heading up a canning challenge for the whole of 2010. you can pop on my blog and click on the icon; tigress’ can jam to find out more about it. so far 70 people are on board so it is sure to be a lot of fun, a lot of learning, and a lot of canning! :)
      .-= tigress´s last blog ..roast the toast: wild apple pie =-.

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  5. The Mom on December 11, 2009 at 8:47 am

    Our refrigerator looks similar. I love meeting the farmers as a part of our local journey. Last night we went to get our raw milk. The kids love seeing the cows and my son thinks the milking machines are the neatest things in the world. Then we get to go home and have milk that came from the cow 30 minutes prior and some homemade cookies. Does it get any better?

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  6. kristin @ going country on December 11, 2009 at 8:57 am

    Huh. If someone were to clean and organize my refrigerator, it would look almost exactly like yours, down to the Pyrex dishes (love the glass!) and canning jars. Even the jar of pickles on the top shelf.

    I don’t know what percentage of our food is local, but almost all. That said, we’re not fanatic about it, in that I still buy nuts and lemons and things that just come from the supermarket. We just kind of fell into eating local food because, well, the area produces so much food and it tastes so much better.
    .-= kristin @ going country´s last blog ..Chickens, Raccoons, and Dogs–Oh My =-.

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    • Susy on December 11, 2009 at 9:30 am

      Yes, I still buy some mangoes, plantains and other tropical things at the supermarket. I try to get citrus from small grower as well. I do buy nuts and other staples from elsewhere as well. I’ll never be 100% local, I grew up in South America so I have to have to occasional mango or plantain. And coffee, I don’t think they’ll ever grow coffee in Ohio, and since I can’t live without it.

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  7. annie avery on December 11, 2009 at 9:00 am

    the best image is the line of jars of milk.. !! any suggestions, btw, for sour milk??

    Reply to annie avery's comment

    • Susy on December 11, 2009 at 9:31 am

      If it’s raw sour milk make cheese, it’s already on it’s way anyways. That’s what I do with mine. I often let my cream sour for butter making, I like cultured butter better than sweet.

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  8. Daphne on December 11, 2009 at 9:21 am

    Wow look at all that milk. It is something that is only in my fridge when my son comes to visit. I’m lactose intolerant and my husband lives with it. He says he knows soy is in all his baked goods but he just closes his eyes and eats it anyway. Some year I have to learn to make my own, but I haven’t gone there yet.
    .-= Daphne´s last blog ..2009 Overview Lettuce and Radishes =-.

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    • Susy on December 11, 2009 at 9:33 am

      I’m lactose intolerant as well, but I can drink raw milk with no problems (the farmer I buy from told me about this, she’s also lactose intolerant). As long as I drink our raw milk and eat my raw milk butter no problems, but I have to avoid regular milk elsewhere. I used to do soy milk, but now it’s banned from the fridge in favor of the real stuff :)

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  9. KitsapFG on December 11, 2009 at 10:25 am

    For purchased products I choose a range of 200 miles – with preference for closer by but for grains and fruit our State’s growing area is about 150 miles to the east of us in central Washington.

    Meat/fish/poultry – Probably about 70% local – fish and poultry are easy the beef/pork is where sourcing it locally can start becoming more of a challenge

    Dairy/Eggs – I would estimate we are close to 90% on this category. We do not have a source for raw milk in this area and make do with pasteurized.

    Grains/Dried Legumes – 100% local. Sacks of it from a distributor that handles grains/legumes from local sources.

    Fats – Other than butter and the fat on meats, my cooking oils are not locally produced

    Veggies – 95% and not only are the local they are from my own property. About 5% per year comes to us through other people and/or restaurants when we eat out or participate in potlucks etc. So while I produce 100% of our own vegetables for home use – I cannot say we eat 100% local veggies because there are occassions when we eat out and I have no idea where the source is from and am not about to worry about it in those cases.

    Fruits – 80% with about 40% coming from our own properties production and the rest purchased from local sources in the region. The remaining 20% represents a combination of occassional purchases of tropical fruits – such as bananas/pineapples etc and food eaten out.

    Honey/maple syrup/sugar products – Honey is local, maple sugar is from canada but not within the 200 mile definition of local, and sugar products are not local (brown sugar, etc).

    Salt/baking ingredients such as baing powder/yeast – generally not local.

    Coffee/Tea/chocolate/spices – Not local at all but we do try to purchase fair trade.

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  10. Paul Zollinger on December 11, 2009 at 11:05 am

    Suzy; if you’ve already said, excuse me for missing it, but are you doing anything to try to stay legal with the milk buying thing? I love to use milk like that, but kind of hate telling someone it’s for my pets, so I just end up buying it and not saying anything (which I’m pretty sure is illegal and I don’t like that either).

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    • Susy on December 11, 2009 at 11:23 am

      Yes, we actually bought part of a cow and we pay the farmer to keep it for us. It’s called a HerdShare program, so technically it’s our cow we’re drinking raw milk from, we just pay the farmer to take care of it and board it for us, which makes it legal. The farmers that care for our cow had a lawyer draw up the paperwork to make sure everything was properly done.

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  11. Marisa on December 11, 2009 at 11:28 am

    These day, 95% of our meats are local (the only exception here are the cured meats, the one producer in the area stopped coming to the area farmers markets and I haven’t been able to make the 45 mile drive to stock up).

    Probably 75% of the fruits and veggies we eat are local, I admit that I break down and occasionally buy non-local salad greens and an array of citrus.

    Dairy is mostly local, all the milk, butter, cream and eggs we eat are local. Cheese is harder, only because the local stuff is so, so expensive (particularly when I have a Trader Joe’s two blocks away, with its miles of inexpensive cheese from around the world).

    I buy fish from a thing called Community Supported Seafood. It’s sourced from around the country (sometimes it will come from the Mid-Atlantic area where I live, but the salmon does not), but is fished in a way that’s sustainable.

    Beyond that, it varies widely. I’m often able to get some local grains and flours and do so when I can. However they are also not always readily available and are always painfully expensive, so I make choices. I do buy local honey and maple syrup, and try to lean on these sweeteners when I can. Obviously, things like coffee, spices, olive oil and balsamic vinegar aren’t local.

    It’s a process. I do the best I can. I’m often thwarted by my husband’s habits and cravings. He likes packaged snack food, drinks 3-4 diet sodas a day and doesn’t really understand why we should be eating squash (because it’s local and seasonal) when broccoli is always available. However, having seen his mother’s kitchen cabinets for the first time recently, I’m now aware of just how far he’s come.
    .-= Marisa´s last blog ..A Gift Guide for Canners (+ Giveaway) =-.

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  12. Tree on December 11, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    Is the milk in quart jars? I get my milk (although pasturized) local and I hate recycling 2 gallon jugs every week. I was thinking of asking him if he can put it in 2 glass jars (old pickle jars well cleaned – I have access to dozens) but I was worried about being able to pour it. This way I could pour it into the smaller canning jars and then the kids and DH could pour from there.

    Love the idea of raw milk, I grew up on raw milk. We lived down the road from a dairy farm and I used to go up and help out, for that we would get our milk straight from the cow and free. :)
    .-= Tree´s last blog ..7 Lights 4 People =-.

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    • Susy on December 11, 2009 at 1:10 pm

      They’re half gallon jars. We like them because we skim off some of the cream to make butter and to use in pumpkin pies & ice cream. They’re easy to pour out of as well. We drop them off at the farm every week washed and ready to go.

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  13. Morgan G on December 11, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    I’m lucky enough to work in a facility that sits on an organic farm. Not only am I steps away from locally grown produce every lunch hour, but, after work I can pick up whatever I need for an impromptu dinner.

    Unfortunately, the farm only produces fruits and veggies, so we still get our dairy and meat from the supermarket. I hear that a meat CSA is forming nearby. I hope this rumor is true!

    In case anybody is interested, I have always found this link really useful in my search for local bounty:
    .-= Morgan G´s last blog ..StoryCorps: history, hopes and humanity through listening =-.

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  14. Livia on December 11, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    I love your refrigerator. (And found this post through Marisa, above)

    I would have trouble going through that much milk unless I were to create some space in which to age cheeses. It’s on the list of reasons why I am

    And I’ll second the request for the recipe for the caramelized apple marmalade with thyme

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  15. Kim on December 15, 2009 at 9:50 am

    Lovely post. We raise almost all the meat we eat and lots of fruits and veggies. As I type I have 3 chest freezers full of food raised here on our farm. I too shop less and less. It’s a good thing. Money still goes out in grain etc but eventually we will grow some of our own as well. We just had a non-profit local market open which I frequent often along with the farmer’s market. We are getting better everyday but like you said it is a gradual process.
    .-= Kim´s last blog ..THE GREENHOUSE IS UP!!!!! =-.

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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