And so my knee-jerk reaction is "Heck, no, we weren't like that! This is an interest that has developed since I became an adult."
Upon deeper reflection, though, there are lots of factors from my childhood that contribute to my interest in and appreciation for local food.
Every summer my family headed for Puyallup to get a bucket of blueberries, which we would freeze and enjoy all winter. We ate blueberries in everything: pancakes, muffins, fruit salads, Jello (my mom has an inexplicable fetish, but no aptitude, for Jello molds), and on a rare occasion one of my favorites: blueberries and dumplings.
One summer we went to my folks' favorite blueberry farm only to discover that the farmer had sold out. The decades-old bushes had been razed and in their place was a housing development.
Other childhood memories of local food include watching my grandpa fuss over his tomatoes, going with my parents to purchase whole salmon from friends who had caught it, clam-digging (and horrible sunburns), visiting pumpkin patches, picking berries with friends in vacant lots, and the smell of skunks as we headed to Duris Farm for cucumbers. My nostrils still twitch in memory of dead skunks any time I head through Puyallup.
According to my grandma, her mother kept chickens no matter where she lived, and held them in the same regard I do.
When I was an exchange student living in France, I fell in love with the street markets. Whenever my schedule allowed, I loved to wander the stalls, fingering the produce, smelling the flowers and cheeses, watching the shoppers, dickering with vendors, and planning ways to prepare my bounty.
I'm not a great gardener. But I keep trying, I keep experimenting, and I keep growing.
This morning I inspected my pea patch and am pleased to see them just starting to break through the soil. My raspberries, which the next-door landlord ruined last summer, are showing proof of recovery. The hens have laid 3 eggs thus far, and I bet there will be more later. Yesterday's rains watered my new strawberry and asparagus deeply.
From blueberries to salmon, clams to tomatoes, I guess I've known all along where I got my roots.
Where does your passion for local food come from?