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Why is using local food so important?

Food is everything. It’s how it all starts – life, shared experiences, community. And food grown in healthy soil has so many benefits to our health and to the land. We use real food in our delightful libations (honey and produce, coffee or tea) and food is part of nearly all experiences with other people.

Ayla here, and local food is where it’s at, you know that. But again, why? Let me tell you a story about a winter tomato, aka tasteless red spheres. In Philadelphia in early winter of 2017, I ate a terrible salad, the kind that looks pretty with plump, shiny red tomatoes happily sitting in a bed of lettuce, but that tastes all kind of bland tipping to downright gross after a few bites. These imposters were grown far away and chosen for their ability to look beautiful after shipping them across the country rather than for delicious flavor.

I had learned from an early age what REAL tomatoes tasted like, their delicate skin enveloping a sweet, dripping pulp inside. If gorging on cherry tomatoes in my Grandma’s vegetable garden was wrong, I didn’t want to be right. That winter in Philly, I decided to revolt and banish fresh tomatoes from my diet until the local tomatoes were back in season. The rest of that winter I avoided buying or ordering anything with fresh tomatoes. Whenever I was tempted, the terrible salad saga memory jolted me into tomato abstinence.

As soon as the trees began to flower in spring, my neighborhood farmers market sprung back to life. I went each week, eager for my first tomato, leaving with everything but tomatoes because duh, tomatoes are not early spring fruits.

Then it happened, I spotted my first pint of the little red wonders and stars came into my eyes as if I was a cartoon character. They had arrived, finally! When I popped the first cherry tomato into my mouth, the sweet, juicy beauty was everything I’d remembered. Memories from my Grandma Betty’s garden resurfaced as I enjoyed this farm fresh, local fruit – what, do you still call it a vegetable?

And I thought, why do we do this to ourselves? Deny this sensual experience of waiting for a truly delicious food by eating subpar substitutes year round? And was my tomato orgasm better because I avoided the crappy versions all winter? Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and food is a daily sensual delight, so why do we deny ourselves this experience?

Since then, I still avoid fresh tomatoes in winter, and now I grow my own garden, seeing the ebbs and flows of how and when food grows in our local corner of the world. And yes, the first tomato is still a celebration, and so is the first apple, and green bean, and lettuce, and cucumber, and and and.

When enjoying our beverages, we want you to taste the power of seasonal produce as much as I did after my first summer tomato. This fall, we invite you to enjoy Forest Green, made with fresh apples grown in Burlington, WI, and our upcoming October release, Oh My Gourd!, made with butternut squash grown on property by our farmer friends Mason & Robyn of QuintaMKE.

Cheers to embracing our seasonality!

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