Yesterday I took my first trip to the grocery store where I was trying to shop as exclusively local as I could. We’re lucky to have a locally-owned grocery store chain – Adams Fairacre Farm – that stocks a pretty good amount of local goods. Up until now, our grocery strategy has generally been to shop at Adams for produce (aside from what we get from the CSA), dairy, eggs, and bread and then to one of several supermarkets for the few canned goods we buy and dry staples like beans, rice, and flour. Adams sells all this other stuff as well, but in our experience all lot of it tends to be “gourmet” brands that are significantly more expensive.
Our pantry is pretty well stocked right now and we’re still flush with CSA veggies, so this wasn’t going to be a huge shopping trip. Here’s how we got:
Three and a half pounds of peaches, which were marked “Local” but I don’t know where exactly from. There are a few peach orchards nearby, so…here’s hoping.
A dozen eggs from Feather Ridge Farm in Elizaville – about 30 miles north of us.
A gallon of apple cider from Minard Farms in Clintondale – right across the river and not 10 miles away. This is a replacement for the Apple & Eve organic apple juice we were buying for the kid before. I turns out the Apple & Eve Corporation is based in Port Washington on Long Island, but from their website FAQ it seems like they have a global supply chain:
At certain times of the year, our apple juice is made from apples grown in the United States. At other times, when domestically grown fruit is in short supply or the quality is not up to our standards, we use apple concentrate of the highest quality made in the United States or imported from one of several countries.
So, Minard is a lot closer although sort of a trade-off in that as far as I can tell they aren’t organic. I guess this is kind of a classic conundrum in terms of sustainable eating. We’ve never been exclusively organic shoppers, but we do try to head in that direction for stuff the kid is eating.
A loaf of rye bread from Silver Bell Bakery in Queens. 82 miles away and probably not a safe bet that it’s made from locally grown ingredients.
A small piece of cheese from Sprout Creek Farm, which is very local (and a nonprofit) and makes really terrific cheese. But at $21/lb, it ain’t cheap.
Since all three of us like our cheese, I decided to supplement with some less expensive cheddar. Adams sells Adams New York Farmstand Cheddar for $6/lb. This I asked about and it turns out that it’s not a store brand – it’s made in Adams, New York which is about 25o miles from Poughkeepsie. Not really our ideal in terms of local, but if the average meal travels 1,500-ish miles, I guess 250 mile cheese isn’t the end of the world for now.
And…a bunch of bananas. The kid eats one pretty much every day and they’re the only food he asks for verbally at this point, so that’s an area of compromise for us.
$32.77 total spent and definitely not a full week’s worth of groceries even with the CSA veggies added in. I’m not so sure whether buying local made too much difference in the pricing on this trip. I think I just bought a bunch of stuff that’s sort of expensive by nature. For example, the Sprout Creek cheese was the most expensive item ($7.26) but I think that’s more about quality than location since imported artisinal cheese is often just as expensive.
It also wasn’t difficult to source what we needed locally, though that’s probably going to change when the veggie growing season is over, when we need to buy staples like oats and dried beans, and if we look for bread that isn’t just baked locally, but also made of local ingredients.