Buying local doesn’t mean snubbing everyone else – you travel once in a while don’t you?

Last updated on May 10th, 2010 at 04:50 pm

I wrote the other day on someone’s post that the website they recommended wasn’t really a “local effort” – the domain was registered out of state, the hosting was out of state – it was just not a great way for a “local” group of business women to support the local economy… well I am passionate about buying LOCAL.

There are many reasons for buying local – it’s a healthy option – locally grown produce is often picked at it’s peak of freshness, and shipped only a small distance before being available to you – all too often in supermarkets, the produce came from out of state, or country – was picked early and “matured” on a truck, that means it wasn’t picked at it’s best, but before it’s best… peak nutritional value is NOT obtained when produce is transported in this way, days or a couple of weeks before you see it!

Buying local honey, as opposed to a bottle trucked in from California, or Florida (or any fruit growing state), helps with allergies…

Locally produced goods require less fuel to move them.. it’s greener…

But above all – local produce is good for the local economy – the dollars and cents stay here, and do not immediately fly from the local economy – enriching the local area first is a GREAT thing to do when you get a chance.

So does this mean I’m anti-buying anything else?  No!

When I travel, be it a small distance, or a large one, I’m always on the look-out for local items – if I travel to Colorado Springs, I would rather eat a small local restaurant than a national chain… supporting that local economy when I am there.  I try to drink a local brew, or wine – and I’ll try to order a meat or fish item that is produced locally – it enriches my travel experience, as I am immersing myself in the local experience!

This “buy local” experiment started many years ago for me, and it has lead to some misses, as well as some hits… sometimes it’s not easy to find local – especially in a big city, or when you have to stop for meal break at short notice.  A perfect example was a business trip to Chicago a few years back.  We had a gap between two organized sight-seeing trips on a personal day… our time was limited, and lunch was calling our names.

In the center of Chicago, we found plenty of the chain style options, and we were bordering on some high-priced office buildings – there were lots of expensive bistro-style places to eat, but we were looking for a lower-priced option, so we found what was billed as an “english style pub” – probably our first mistake.

Well, being on a tight timeline, we opted to sit at the bar, as this often results in quicker service – the barman was right there, not flitting around over a large section of tables.

First up, a drink… “can you tell me what’s good please barman?”

To which the barman replied… “We have this really nice beer, people love it… it’s called ‘Fat Tire’… ” – strike one… I explain we’re from Colorado, I’m looking for something I can’t get when I’m at home…

“OK, my second choice, if you like a european style beer, and I can tell you’re from not from here… it would be ‘Blue Moon wheat beer’, it’s really nice… ” – STRIKE TWO!

So I explain that I’m looking for something that’s from this part of the world, not from Colorado… the barman looks somewhat flummoxed… at this point a guy in Naval uniform leans over, and introduces himself… turns out he’s from Colorado, but based here in the area while undergoing naval training – he casts his eye over the beers on taps and recommends a Wisconsin option, a Leinenkugal – and wryly suggests that it would be our “best option of what is available to us.”  We go with this and it was a nice local-ish brew – far preferably to drinking a Fat Tire or Blue Moon in Chicago!

Our meal itself ended up being a burger – the only option that wasn’t right out of the freezer I think!

So my experience taught me two things…. one, it’s not always EASY to drink and eat local – and that your best option is not to go with a ‘theme restaurant’ – but time was our enemy on this trip – we tried and we had half a hit – the rest of our trip was less troublesome – but we did jump on the internet in our hotel room and come up with a shortlist of places to eat at when we had a chance!