I always dread shopping for food in the winter. Winter in Canada is when the fruits and vegetables start coming from farther and farther away, and I feel acutely the food miles that I am accumulating. And then there are the tough decisions about how much fresh food to buy for my family in spite of the distance it may have traveled. And then there's the local vs. organic dilemma.
After struggling with all of this for several years, I have come up with the following list of rules that help me make those decisions:
• Local AND organic if possible
• If local is available (meaning, during the winter, grown somewhere in Canada), choose over organics grown in the U.S. or farther afield
• Opt for frozen foods if necessary (a good way to keep Canadian grown peas, beans, and berries in your diet)
• Say adios to certain foods til spring--I don't buy non-organic grapes for example. Too many pesticides on a soft-skinned and therefore absorbant fruit. Not to mention that during the winter months they come from super-far-off places like Chile and South Africa.
It's a good thing I like root vegetables. In the meantime, I'll grit my teeth at the grocery store and take solace in seed catalogues. Next summer I'll make up for it by growing my own veggies.
Good luck with your own shopping adventures! I'd love to hear other readers' own strategies for keeping up variety while keeping down food miles during winter months.