Thinking Local

Yarn

A couple of days ago I received an order for yarn from Green Mountain Spinnery.  Until I read the tag I had no idea that they were in Putney, VT which is about 45 miles from Rowe.  They are a co-op and spin the majority of their yarn from New England fleeces.  This is for a project I will be doing in a knit-along with Ruth Fischer-Ticknor.  You can read about it on her Counting Sheep blog.  It is a beautiful yarn.

As I was winding the skeins into balls I started thinking about having a garment made from wool that was processed so close to home.  I’ve gradually become more of a locavore in the past few years and have begun to see that mindset seep into everything I do.  I grow and preserve a lot of food from my garden every year.  I get all of my dairy from Smyth’s Trinity Farm in Enfield, CT where I can talk cheese making with someone who works with dairy on a larger scale. We buy a side of beef from Russell in Heath once a year – grass, sunshine, fresh water, nothing else goes into these cows. We also make our own maple syrup with him.  My eggs come from my sister next door where I’ve watched those hens from hatchlings.  Our sausages, bacon and other assorted smoked meats come from Pekarski’s in South Deerfield. Mike Pekarski is a very generous man and rightfully proud of his smokehouse – he will tell or show me how things are made, right there, with the help of his family.  In the summer there are a few farms that I frequent for pick your own produce that augments what I am putting up at the time. Although the farmers there don’t know me by name they instantly recognize me when I arrive.   I thought, until I started writing this, that it was more important to know how far my food had travelled but I now realize that I have friendships that have been built over time with all of the people who are raising much of my food.

Preparing and eating food that you trust gives you a peace of mind that is difficult to really describe.  There is nothing that makes me feel better than to prepare a meal where I know where everything came from, I’ve visited its source, I know who’s hands have been on it.  I know that if I didn’t grow it myself I have contributed to the livelihood of people that have become my friends or have been for a long time.  By doing that I am contributing to my local economy.  So I try to get what I need within the 100 mile radius that is often talked about.   Purchasing fiber that I needed for a project from less than 100 miles away made me feel that there are so many other ways I can think about being local.  I personally know at least 3 people that are raising fiber animals.  Although I didn’t buy their fiber I know that I am still contributing to their type of local economy as well.  Yes, things cost a little more but doesn’t it feel better when you know that the money you are spending is going directly into the pockets of people you know rather than some huge corporation with the farmer essentially getting paid just enough to keep going? It’s worth thinking about.

This is my 100th post!  Thank you so much to all who read, follow and comment on it.

4 thoughts on “Thinking Local

  1. You are so lucky to be able to do that! We have companies here (in London, UK) who deliver fresh produce from local farmers- not quite the same thing as personally knowing all the growers!

  2. I stumbled upon your blog a few few days ago, but I didn’t realize until I read this post that you’re in Western Mass! I do feel very fortunate to be able to get so much wonderful food produced so close to home. We are very lucky!

    • We are very fortunate that there is sooooo much available in the Pioneer Valley (and beyond). New York State from Albany north is another growing area for farmers and it spills over into western VT. It’s nice to feel like you’re part of such a great community.

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