The locavore’s conundrum

There it sat, round, green with a hint of yellow and all the promise of a hot summer day: a fresh watermelon, AKA, the locavore’s conundrum (a tip-of-the-hat to Michael Pollan).

It was a lovely Saturday in May, the sun was shining, the sky was blue, the red wing blackbirds were trilling in the park. Summer was in the air. So when I walked into the No Frills near my house, pushing my youngest in the stroller, the well-deserved beautiful weather having soothed me into a happy mood, I forgot all about global warming, food miles and out-of-season fruit long enough to pick up a watermelon the size of a soccer ball, put it my basket and proceed to check-out.

But as I heaved it up to the cash, I caught sight of the “Grown in Mexico” sticker and froze. Ah, yes, Mexico. Er, yes, this is May and, um, there are no local watermelons in Ontario in May. How many food miles would this watermelon represent? Images of exhaust-spewing trucks laden with hundreds of watermelons travelling across North America to deliver a luxury food to Canadians only recently freed from winter’s grip filled me with guilt. I wanted that taste of summer. I wanted it bad. Hey, I was snowed/iced/wind-chilled in for six weeks straight this year. Watermelon, sunshine, bathing suits–I crave it all. But faced with the locavore’s conundrum, I had to surrender the giant fruit. I’ll have to wait for them to be in season somewhere a little closer to home.

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