Move over, Barbara Kingsolver, she of the best-selling book about eating local for a year. This weekend I took the local challenge, at least for one dinner. But I may have screwed up, so I need a collective ruling from the Serious Eats community. Have mercy, and please show some compassion.
On Saturday, I cooked my wife what I thought was a locavore's delight: great, bicolor corn from Locust Grove Farm in the Hudson River Valley that was sweet and corny rather than just stabbingly sweet; red heirloom tomatoes from Locust Grove, alternating on the plate with stunning yellow tomatoes from Yuno Farm in Bordentown, New Jersey; and excellent sweet Italian turkey sausage from DiPaola Poultry Farm, from the southern New Jersey town of Hamilton. All I did was boil the corn, slice the tomatoes, and brown the sausage in a sauté pan for ten minutes on each side on low heat. For dessert we had perfect raspberries (also from Locust Grove) and creamy Fage Greek yogurt, which I thought was made in another borough of New York, Queens.
I was feeling particularly proud (and full) until the nagging doubts started.
I used a little bit of extra-virgin olive oil from Spain in the sauté pan to keep the turkey sausage from sticking. I don't think olive oil made from locally grown olives exists in the northeastern United States. The Fage yogurt turns out to be made in Greece and is distributed by a company in Woodside, Queens. The final slap in my locavore face was the sprinkling of Malden sea salt that added just the right saline flavor to the sweet and gently acidic tomatoes. I'm afraid Malden is in England, which would certainly fit into no one's idea of local, unless you are from Malden or near it.
So I ask you, Serious Eaters: Is there a Locavore Court of Appeals? Can anyone tell me the name of a good locavore defense lawyer? I believe I have a very strong case here.
There is no local olive oil in New York state. I suppose the locavore judge could say that I could have used butter instead, but it has a much lower burning temperature and, besides, I'm watching my cholesterol. I could claim deceptive marketing practices on the part of the Fage people, but then again, I could have used the other Greek-style yogurt I occasionally buy in my local market, which is made in Astoria, Queens, a mere 15 miles from my house. The Malden sea salt may be hard to justify, but it's so good on sliced local tomatoes. Plus, I don't know of an enterprising Brooklynite trying to harvest Coney Island sea salt, but I know that day is surely coming soon.
I fear I am going to have to appeal my case to the Chief Locavore Judge, the honorable Alice Waters.