Remember back in elementary school when you had this little bit of closet space tucked away in some lost corridor that was called “the School Store”? We did. It smelled like erasers and it was in a back room of the library. I don’t know about you but I loved it. It was a big deal if you got to work at the store in the afternoons. Almost as big a deal as staying in from recess to play Oregon Trail .. almost.
The school store doesn’t exist here in our instituto, but we do in fact have a store of sorts. Instead of erasers, pencils and notebooks you can buy organic eggs, oranges and chicken. While photocopying your worksheets for the day, you can request a dozen eggs or a bag of oranges and they will be delivered to you the following day. If you remember, this is how we got our Thanksgiving turkey from the nearby town of Chucena. Our portero (doorman) owns some land and sells his produce and poultry while working here at school. Imagine my surprise when I discovered I could have a bag full of softball-sized oranges with my name on it for a mere €2.50.
I have always been a supporter of the slogan: Buy Green, Buy Local. And why not? So much of the food here goes directly from farm to table with very little outside interaction, that I am hard pressed to even consider buying it somewhere else. My holiday turkey came in a plastic bag and my eggs come in a cone of newspaper with the feathers still clinging to them. For someone who grew up in the suburbs, this is pure genius. We have a local farm down the road that provides us with delicious summer corn, squash and pumpkins. Last year I participated in a community garden at my university, and previously in a CSA. While the garden was rewarding for its physical benefits and personal connection (our eggplants! I’m so proud!), I found the CSA left me wanting. There was little choice of what we received and sometimes our boxes held so much of one product that I had to give it away. Here in Spain I am making my purchases from a local fruteria whose owner happily weighs my produce and charges me next to nothing for perfect potatoes and beautiful bananas. You should see the size of the strawberries!
Buying local is easy here in Spain (specifically, Sevilla) .. is it easier because of our location? Because of the emphasis on agriculture? Because of the importance of food and fresh meals for the family? Regardless of the cause, I’m grateful.. and so is my wallet!