Choosing local

We’ll start today’s post with a tangent that’s only semi-off topic: The fire that’s raging in our county is still raging — I mean, it will until it rains, whenever that might be (and yeah, I get the irony of praying for rain in Oregon, although to be honest, we’re not nearly as wet as people seem to think we are) — but life is finding a new normal. Classes are running as scheduled (after school activities are another story), the school in the evacuation zone has been moved to a different location, and — I’m not sure how this is even possible — but we had a brief reprieve from the smoke Saturday, which was lovely.

Everything smells like smoke, inside and out, and it’s just gross and depressing. The only thing that hasn’t changed is that the interstate is still closed (not surprising, the fire is right up against it). They’re worried about falling trees and rocks.

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I went on a “media tour” of the local fire incident base last week — this was taken at 8 a.m.

I’d joke that it’s awesome that our tourist trap of a town is sans tourists, only none of us can enjoy the quiet anyway because no one is going outside if they can help it.

It’s also not a joke that our businesses are suffering. No tourists, no sales. Our town runs pretty much on a year-round basis, but summer is when everyone makes enough money to get them through the rest of the year. I’m half tempted to take a walk downtown and see what’s open and do a little shopping.

Half tempted. I hate shopping and I don’t need more stuff.*

But we do need groceries. We’re a tourist town, but we’re also an orcharding community. I’ve got cherry trees as neighbors, and my favorite farm stand is less than two miles from my house.

Farm stands also rely on tourist traffic. And farmers have to work no matter what is going on outside.

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Bonus: Super amazing, very local salads!

I’m on a roll anyway with projects that I’ve been putting off all summer, but I decided to throw it down this weekend, purchasing everything I could from the farm stand instead of the grocery store. Dried pinto beans? Give me two bags. Carrots, bell peppers, apples (Honey Crisps are in and they’re Eric’s favorites), more tomatoes and plums, basil, table grapes, red potatoes, corn on the cob, zucchini and summer squash, to eat now and to preserve for later.

Lisa, who runs the stand, thanked me especially for buying the tomatoes — she has a grower who “keeps bringing them in.” And that’s the thing about this particular farm stand: They have their own produce (apples, pears, blueberries) but they also serve as an outlet for other growers in the area.

My $50 isn’t going to save them from these terrible weeks (or months). But I do feel like it shows support and acknowledges that they work hard to feed my family, and I appreciate that fact — we eat very well because of Lisa and her farm stand, and frugal though we are, I don’t care what she charges for her produce. I’ll pay it. She’s a small farmer struggling to make this work. It’s money well spent as far as I’m concerned, and judging by the number of locals at the farm stand this weekend, I’m not the only one who believes that.

And the fact that my pantry and freezers are looking amazing? That’s just icing.

*Another tangent, I’m on a roll: After our terrible winter, one of the organizations in town hosted what was basically a shopping party for locals — sign in, go shop, bring receipts back and get a free tote bag plus be entered into a raffle. And Johanna and I went. (I bought dish towels and I ended up winning chocolate, which I did not expect but the family enjoyed.) Every shop I went into was unfailingly grateful for the show of support. It made a big impression on me — and is probably why I’m thinking about this current crisis in these terms. We might be a tourist trap, but we’re all in this together.

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5 thoughts on “Choosing local

  1. Roberta says:

    I’m never in the mood to can tomatoes, but I’ve frozen them in the past, and that’s been great. I put them on a cookie sheet, let them freeze solid, then put them in storage bags. When I’m ready to make soup (or chili, or whatever) I pop them in the pot for a couple seconds, pull them back out, remove the skin. Then I can chop them up, easy peasy. (In case you want to put more tomatoes away for the winter.)

    What is the name of your town? You can email me. We’re planning to drive up to the Pacific Northwest next summer, and I keep thinking I want to go through your little town, especially for the produce stand! (If you’d rather not answer that, I understand, because of creepy internet people).

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    • Trisha Walker says:

      I just did. 🙂

      I’ve had good results freezing tomatoes, too. They just take up a little more room in that form, and I decided that I should at least have a few in the cupboard in case we end up without power or something. You can never have too many tomatoes!

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  2. Diane says:

    Oh my goodness – that smoke sounds terrible, and definitely not good for the lungs. Rather scary too, I would imagine.
    Here’s hoping you get a good rain soon.

    We are also a tourist mecca in the summer and while I realise it is good for the local economy I am always extremely happy when they all leave and we get our little island back again. Too late for the beach, though. 😢

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    • Trisha Walker says:

      The smoke is truly awful. It’s crazy how it gets everywhere. There’s a chance of rain this weekend. We are all crossing our fingers!

      I’m always glad to see the tourists thin out, too. it’s just kind of exhausting having so many people in town.

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