Girl vs. Food: Aloha Palm Trees, Ocean Breeze and Local Foods …Written by Monica Mikolajczyk | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Recently, I decided to cram my life into four suitcases (that all weigh less than 50 pounds) and fly to the island of Maui. I wanted a little change, like lying on the beach and eating pineapple all day. OK, this is a slight exaggeration. I had been writing from our hometown; pulling all sorts of tricks from my sleeve on how to maintain a holistically healthy lifestyle. I had even gone so far as to point you in the right direction when it comes to finding the best local foods, or other products that you need to stay in tip-top shape. Don’t worry, I have not abandoned you. I will continue to write to you from paradise (I had to rub it in a little) and pass on the valuable information I learn from this land.
Upon arriving, I noticed how expensive everything is. Gas is about $4.70 a gallon, a watermelon is about $6.00 and a loaf of bread I about $17.00. Just kidding, but you get the picture. If you think about the fact that some of these products have to be shipped to the most secluded chain of islands in the world, it starts to make sense. Even the imported produce, despite the fact that the land is so very fruitful, no pun intended, (most of the supermarkets don’t carry local produce), so I was quick to learn how to get it for little dinero.
Farmers Markets start to blend in with the scenery once you have been here for a few days. They are everywhere, because there is a plethora of local farming. Maui is really blessed with having different areas on the island that are able to sustain all kinds of crops. A person living, or vacationing, on Maui can feel content as they add up the dollars — and days, weeks and/or years of their lives they have saved by shopping at these. Remember local produce is always safer than crops that are mass produced. The local stuff will be packed with nutrients, virtually free of harmful substances. By indulging in the alternative, you may actually ingest more chemicals that vitamins and minerals.
Thanks to my natural charm, I have become good friends with my neighbor (okay, so my neighbor is actually my new manager, but my charm would have won her over otherwise), and I am so lucky for this. In between every house on our block, there is some kind of food-producing plant. There is (ahem) a mango, papaya, pineapple, lemon, lime and avocado tree that are available to me whenever the fruit is ripe. My neighbors may water these trees, but other than that, they just let nature handle the rest. This food is free of charge and free of anything nasty, harmful or dangerous.
My landlord informed me that in a couple of weeks, I can start to garden in the backyard. Score. Kale costs about $3.30 a bunch here (compared to $1.99ish in the 419), so I will most certainly be growing this delicacy. Last summer, my mom grew this in her Toledo garden, and from early summer to late fall, I never had to buy kale. I make a juice every day that calls for five to six stalks of kale, so you understand this little backyard garden was rockin’!
Dear Toledo friends, as spring quickly approaches I invite you to take advantage of these same scenarios. Soon you will be faced with the question of running to the supermarket down the road, or making a weekly trip (and saving lots of money and supporting local farming) to the farmers market. You will consider the possibility of a garden full of delicious, convenient fruits and vegetables, but may pass on the opportunity as you think it may be too much work. It is work, but about as much as it takes to maintain your car, and eventually, it all pays off (literally).
Think of me (yes, strolling on the beach, fresh papaya in hand …) and my new lifestyle. Remember how convenient, but completely unaffordable it is for me to walk a block to the local supermarket chain. I must be disciplined enough to make a weekly farmers market list, and put in the extra effort to grow a few of my own foods. Then, remember how good this is for your pocketbook, global footprint, and your most valuable asset –- you! So, sing it with me: Walk like an Egyp… err, Hawaiian.