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A Taste of Summer in Winter

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Fresh fruits and vegetables are available in winter.  It is so obvious that it is easy to forget how remarkable this really is, but this fact has taken on a new significance for me as I am heading to the Southern Hemisphere in a week.  Chile is big on exports, especially produce, fish, wine, and copper.  A few days ago I went looking for Chilean products suited to my tastes here in Ipswich (and where would I find copper?):

That’s a Chardonnay and a Cabernet, and blueberries, nectarines, peaches and plums from Chile.  It’s blurry, but Stop and Shop has written “A taste of summer in winter” underneath “Peaches”.

Here’s the thing:  I buy out of my own paycheck My family buys local, organic food whenever possible, but we are no Barbara Kingsolver, localist 100%.  Sure, we frown on buying fresh peaches and cherries in January, but our refrigerator is stocked with baby lettuce mixes and carrots twelve months of the year.  Regarding food, as well as most other topics, I’m not interested in preaching and I’m not seaking purity– I am a vegetarian who buys leather shoes.  As my dad has pointed out, my favorite word these days is nuanced, and even more so, un-nuanced, which seems to be the lowest insult I can hurl at an idea or politician.  So I ate the peach (I had to buy something after photographing all the fruit), and I have to say, it wasn’t bad.  I wonder about all the human beings involved in transporting that fruit to snowy Ipswich, about the environmental impact, and about how this all plays out in the grand scheme of the global economy.  It seems like the more I think about things that seem simple, the more complex they get, the more nuance I can see.  We’ll see what I begin to see over this next year.

In other news, I am leaving in a week!  Though I’m more interested in Preparations: Books (I’ve got a new novel, plus a Chilean DVD from Netflix), this week I need to get serious about Preparations: Packing and Preparations: Taxes.  I’m also full to the brim with Preparations: Friends, and I feel very grateful to have so many of them, both in the area, and also so readily accessible everywhere thanks to the internet.  That’s it for now– eight days until Chile!

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