What do Marilyn Munroe and I have in common?
When Norma Jean Baker began her public career as a model and beauty queen contestant she became the first Queen of the Artichoke Festival, the forerunner of the Festival now held annually in Castroville, California.
What is it about certain foods that we find so irresistible? For me, a favourite food is artichokes, which of course are not native to anywhere near Nova Scotia, and were in fact a Mediterranean "thing" as far as I can tell that were then transplanted in the western hemisphere to become the delicacy they are - mainly grown in California. Artichokes can be grown elsewhere, though, and so I grow some every year - and the one shown above is one of last year's crop, coming from one of the three plants that made it to maturity here at our place. It was my birthday this past week, and unfortunately no fresh arties were available here in southwestern Nova Scotia.
The thing is, foods like artichokes are so much better when they are local. We eat a lot of citrus in Florida, mainly because we live on the shores of the Indian River when we're there, in the heart of orange and grapefruit growing country. In Nova Scotia, we eat citrus, but I never buy the stuff from places too far afield - yes, it's cheaper, but it comes at a cost to the planet - the fuel burned transporting such goods is very destructive to our environment. I'd rather buy as local as possible. The other day I was in the store and saw potatoes from outside North America, and I mentioned to the produce manager that that seemed silly, since in many parts of our Province and neighbouring PEI the potato is a staple crop. "HQ shipped them to us, we don't have a choice," he told me.
But I do have a choice. I bought the potatoes they had that were from Canning, NS. And I'll pass on the South African oranges altogether. Oh, and my birthday cake - had it with our own homegrown blueberries, picked and frozen last summer - as local as it gets!