Raising My Twins

It's what's on my mind.

Buying American and “Eating Local”

Here’s a great list of reasons to buy American. Most of us have our own pet reasons. Mine are supporting our economy (especially local businesses when I can) and reducing the impact on our environment. I mean, do we really need to eat blueberries in the winter when they come from Chile? Why not eat local citrus instead?  I live in California, so admittedly I have an easier situation than somebody in the Midwest, say.

Hokkaido squash and Padron peppers

This spring and summer I’ve made most of my produce purchases from the farmer’s market, and this has actually spurred me to try fun new vegetables, like this Hokkaido squash and these Padron peppers. I learned Padrons are a popular tapas dish, the best way to prepare them being to blister them in a pan of shimmering hot olive oil and sprinkle them with sea salt. And man, are they delicious. I have bought them every week for a month! I’ve put them in chili and deep-dish pizza with delicious results too.

The Hokkaido (aka “potimarron”) is a nutty-flavored sweet squash that the market vendor tells me sells out quickly each year. I have yet to prepare mine, but I will either make soup for the babies or perhaps I’ll try this potimarron gnocchi recipe, if I have some time.

Toys are another area of interest to me as a parent of young children. I’ve started trying to buy more American made toys, and interestingly, there aren’t that many brands sold through large outlets. When I combine “Made in the USA” with “eco-friendly”, both features by which Yoyo.com allows you to search, I only get products from a wonderful company called Green Toys, which makes all their BPA- and phthalate-free toys from recycled milk jugs. And they are really cute toys.

A search for “made in usa eco-friendly toys” helped me to find Down To Earth Toys that make some adorable bug blocks and other wooden and fabric toys. Magic Cabin has a section called “Made in America” which includes fun beeswax crafts and very attractive child-height wooden planter boxes.

This search also found a very cool looking company called Zoe B Organic. The search specifically found these biodegradable beach toys, but what looks exciting is that they have biodegradable plates, cups and bowls made in the USA too. Great idea!

I recently searched for a US-made tea pot and ended up finding out that there aren’t any (there’s one with German glass but made here—ask if you’re interested and I’ll find it again). This is a sad situation. We should at least have a couple of options in every product category that are made here, don’t you think?

For my part, I’m making this part of my buying decisions, although I’m sure won’t be 100% compliant. The thing is, I really believe that by buying products made here and made responsibly, I am in a sense voting for these factors. Companies make what we buy. If we didn’t just put the lowest price as our top priority, they’d eventually be persuaded to make things the way we want them, such as with quality parts or ingredients and low-toxin processes, made here in the United States.

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