Pickles from India?
I found out not too long ago, that the pickles I was purchasing were produced in India. That made me start to wonder where my food was coming from. So, I started asking. For the most part, no one knew. Some of the items that I was purchasing to feed my family contained as many as 35 ingredients, with only one or two of the 35 ingredients originating in the United States, much less the midwest, or Wisconsin. The fact that I had no idea what many of the ingredients were was also quite troubling. I love Indian Food, but, kosher dill pickles produced in India are not what I would expect to see on my local grocer’s shelf.
But We Love Good Food
So I started going to the Farm Market on a regular basis. I planted a small garden in a Community Garden in Kaukauna. I began growing some of my own food, and eating food grown locally. Then, along came winter and I was back to canned soups and processed tomatoes. For several years, I continued this cycle. Our family frequented fast food restaurants and bought frozen pizzas by the dozen. But, we were becoming aware.
I grew up in rural Wisconsin on what my father called a “hobby farm”.
We had a LARGE garden, raised chickens, ducks, geese, had one sheep, a pony and other creatures along the way – including a pet racoon named Squeaky. When I started to garden as an adult, I couldn’t believe how much I remembered about gardening from all those days spent with my parents planting, weeding, watering, hoeing…you get the idea. At the time, I thought that gardening was a little slice of hell and wished my mom would just buy tomatoes like everyone else’s parents did. But, much to my dismay, years later, I realized how much I learned during those long hot summers. We were locavores but had no idea that we were locavores. It wasn’t anything special, it was just the way we lived. When I was 12 my family left that farmette for life in the city. We never had another garden, we started purchasing all of our food at the grocery store and my mom no longer canned rows and rows of peaches. I wish I could tell you that I missed it, but truth be told, at the time I never realized how special it was.