YOLO COUNTY NEWS
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Bob Dunning

Bob Dunning: Being a locavore can be challenging

By From page A2 | October 23, 2013

Admittedly, it’s a bit easier to be a locavore in Yolo County or the Central Valley of California than it is in, say, Leith, N.D., but unless I want to starve to death, it’s time to join the movement.
So, I’ve been trying very hard when I’m at Nugget to buy only those products that are marked with the “tractor” logo. I don’t really know if that means they’ve been brought to Nugget in a tractor or if I’m supposed to take them home in a tractor, but I do know they’re “local” in some, way, shape or form. Even if coffee beans are not native to Yolo County.
I do so love bananas, but I pass them up, because bringing them here from wherever they’re grown would cause even the best of tractors to burn an awful lot of fuel, and no stretch of the imagination can fit bananas into the local farm-to-fork movement. The same for Idaho potatoes.
Plus, since my genes presumably evolved in the northern latitudes somewhere on planet Earth, I probably shouldn’t be eating bananas in the first place. Or mangoes or pineapples or oranges or — and boy do I hate to say this — avocados.
I worry about the people in Crescent City, where just about the only local products available are smoked salmon and redwood bark.
And what of folks in North Dakota, where they raise a little wheat and the occasional sugar beet, but are woefully short of locally grown fruits and vegetables? They do raise cows and pigs and chickens, so they won’t starve to death eating locally, but I’m sure the American Heart Association wouldn’t call that a balanced diet.
The occasional glass of wine? Only if you live in areas of the country where they can grow grapes of one sort or another. If you can find a healthy vineyard between Bismarck and Fargo, let me know. The liquid of choice on the North Dakota prairie these days is spelled o-i-l.
I also wonder what will happen to all our Northern California farmers if the whole country buys into the locavore movement for its alleged health and economic benefits. I mean, if it’s good for Davis, Calif., it ought to be good for Elko, Nev.
If you travel up and down the Central Valley, you’ll realize very quickly that we raise far more rice and tomatoes and almonds and grapes and olives than the people of California can consume. Those crops and many more rely on national and world markets for our farmers to survive.
Now, even though this whole farm-to-fork deal rightly belongs on our side of the Causeway, it was interesting to see folks in the state capital try to join the movement with a number of events at the end of last month.
To kick it all off, there was a special farm-to-fork luncheon on the Guy West Bridge, which spans the American River and is a beautiful pedestrian and bicycle gateway to the Sacramento State campus.
Appropriately, there was a large, full-color picture in the Sacramento Bee showing Sac State President Alexander Gonzalez and Assemblyman Roger Dickinson of Sacramento preparing to chow down while sitting at one of the picnic tables set up on the bridge.
Now what better way to learn about this totally relevant new movement than to hear from both an educator and a lawmaker?
Looking a bit closer at the farm-to-fork cuisine being presented, I noticed — right there in front of President Gonzalez and Assemblyman Dickinson — was a great big bag of Cheetos.
I’m not sure which local farmer raised and harvested those Cheetos or which VIP was going to put the first fork to them, but I will say it was an educational experience for me.
Exactly what I learned I plan to keep to myself.

— Reach Bob Dunning at [email protected]

Bob Dunning

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