Ask the grumpies: Healthy natural environmentally friendly food for lazy people

Bogart asks:

I have realized that I value (a) minimal environmental impact; (b) foods made from “natural” ingredients, with “natural” here being a stand-in for Michael Pollan’s sort of stuff-my-grandparents-would-have-been-familiar-with. Things people have been eating (or cooking with) for a long time; and (c) not having to do food prep. Ever. At all.

B and C seem somewhat at odds with each other, though I am increasingly coming to believe that C is very consistent with A — that if, for example, I buy a rotisserie chicken it likely took a lot less energy to cook that chicken than it would had a roasted a single chicken at home (never mind baking bread). So my main question is how other people who value B & C manage to balance them. Should you post this, I’d be grateful if people could act like economists and assume that, no, really, I am confident about my actual preferences vis-a-vis C, it’s not just that I haven’t tried hard enough/long enough/gotten in touch with my inner chef. Also, I have enough of a budget constraint that I’m unlikely to land in a place where, e.g., I solve C by hiring a personal chef thereby violating A. So food prep does need to be minimal or inexpensively outsourced to solve this conundrum.

I tongue-in-cheek recommended a raw food diet, because even though there are plenty of people who do crazy raw food stuff (lots of sprouting and fermenting and processing and chopping and mixing and dehydrating etc.), you can actually be really lazy and just eat lots of completely unprocessed fruits, veggies, and nuts.  Depending on where you live, you can do this locally and organically too.  All it takes is rinsing off and chewing.  (How do I know:  Three months with DC1 of being completely unable to keep anything down other than fruit, and a limited longer-term diet with DC2.)  But it does take a lot of chewing.  And I am much happier being able to eat more food groups.

When you live in a West Coast city, this is also really easy.  Just go to your farmer’s market every weekend and buy food there.  Done.  You can get enough pre-made local ethnic food and other goodies to last you the week.  Still, farmer’s markets in other places often have local canned items and jams and baked goods and you can return the mason jars to them to be reused.

Everywhere else you’re going to probably not going to be able to do very well on (a) because food will need to be shipped in for 3-9 months out of the year.  Still, as a museum exhibit here in Paradise says, you can do a lot to minimize your environmental impact just by not eating meat or by cutting down on meat.  (I say this while lovingly scooping up a salad made with local butter lettuce, local feta, and ground buffalo, nom.)  So yeah, eat organic fruits and veggies.

Some cities have a caterer in town whose business model is to provide home-cooked meals to families for the week.  Usually they drop a big package off with you at the beginning of the week with meals for the entire week.  Many of these places have organic/resuable containers/etc.  But some of them it looks like all they’ve done is chop things and you still have to put stuff together and actually cook.  Meh.  Still, something to look into– it’s not exactly a personal chef because they’re making the same meals for a ton of people, which is also more efficient.  We flirted with this idea when I was unable to eat wheat with DC2’s pregnancy because one of the options in town did organic/gluten-free but never tried it out.

Really, it sounds like you want to go to your most upscale local grocery store in town and just check out their freezer section and ready-made section.  If you’re committed to minimal waste, do things like bring your own containers and get stuff from the bins (like mixed salad greens).  Also, we are big fans of cheese and crackers and fruit for dinner.  Crackers may not be the best option from an environmental standpoint, so you could do sandwiches (with local bread) instead or quesadillas (with local tortillas).  Which requires a little food prep, but mostly of the slicing and (optional) toasting/microwaving variety.  Here we discuss looking at ingredients on processed foods, and we also describe some really minimal prep options (see #5, for example, sandwiches).  When you’re middle-class or upper-middle class, most anything you can get from the grocery store is going to be affordable compared to eating out and you’ll save more money avoiding food-waste than skimping on things that make food easier (so don’t feel guilt about buying things that are already chopped/torn/etc).

Katherine says:

In my experience (not having been on one myself, but knowing some people who have and owning a few raw food cookbooks), raw food diets involve a MASSIVE amount of food prep.

I submit that Katherine’s friends get enjoyment (possibly perverse) out of doing that kind of food prep and you can’t sell a raw food cookbook that just says, “wash and eat fruits, veggies, and nuts.”

Cloud says:

I like cooking OK, but hate cooking in the time crunch I usually have during the week. I’m probably less committed to your point (b) than you (I’m a big fan of EDTA and other preservatives, for instance), but do try to avoid excess sugar and more processing and additives than are strictly necessary, and my main trick is to read labels carefully and find favorite brands of convenience foods. There are some that would probably meet your point (b) requirements, and using those can help with your point (c).

For instance, there are pasta sauce brands that really only have tomatoes, onions, garlic, and herbs as their ingredients. If you have access to good fresh pasta (or even good frozen filled pasta, like tortellini), you can mix that with the sauce in very little time. I also have a recipe I love that is essentially tortellini, a can of veggie broth, a can of diced tomatoes, a splash of white wine, spinach and basil. I can handle this recipe even on the crappiest weekday.

I get a lot of recipes like this from Cooking Light. They have a “quick and easy” section that makes good use of convenience foods.

The only caveat to my method is that it took a lot of time at the grocery store for a few weeks, while I read all the labels and found the brands I liked for the convenience food.

We’re fans of “pour sauce A over noodles/rice B”.  Sometimes we throw frozen veggies or even meat in.  Honestly, most nights we don’t do anything as complicated as what Cloud is describing– that sounds like a weekend meal for us(!) since it requires opening more than one can.  Al fresco dinners that contain some fruit or veggies (and your choice of protein/starch/etc.) are AOK and your ancestors would totally recognize them (assuming they were lucky enough to have fruit available).  We give permission.  If you want to just have snap peas and carrots and some bread, go for it.  Or microwaved mixed veggies with or without a pat of butter (something I ate a lot of while pregnant because it didn’t come back up again), also fine (though frozen veggies provide some waste :( ).

Grumpy Nation, how would you help bogart?

23 Responses to “Ask the grumpies: Healthy natural environmentally friendly food for lazy people”

  1. becca Says:

    I’ve been eating a lot of tomatoes/avocados and basil with bread and cheese, sometimes topped with roasted garlic/olives lately. (I can get roasted garlic at the olive bar at my local “natural” grocery- roasting garlic is too much work for me). Our local “natural” grocery will also get me to eat things (like roasted brussel sprouts) that I am not about to food prep myself, but like to eat. If I could find a pre-fab lasagna that was as good as a restaurant, that grocer/deli would get a lot of my money!

    For breakfasts…I also not opposed to a bit of food prep, but I agree there is sometimes a tradeoff between B and C. For example, I prefer 1 minute oat meal in the microwave to cold cereal (I usually throw in flax seeds or walnuts, and dried cherries or blueberries, lots of cinnamon and a pinch of vanilla. Kidlet gets brown sugar too.). I will never be the person who gets the steel cut oatmeal and cooks it on the stove just to feel old timey, but I’m also not terribly tempted by frosted flakes.
    Eggs count as food prep, I suppose, but if you like hard boiled you can do that ahead of time. Generally if I can get it together to make coffee, I can make eggs, but YMMV.

    For snacks…popcorn requires food prep, but if you get an air popper it’s not too bad. All manner of trail mix can be good in this case.

    For dinners, I never really got around the food prep issue, unless I’m eating bread and cheese or hotdogs (which don’t meet the “natural” criteria at all!). Some people swear by slow cookers, where you front load the food prep. Some people swear by salads, which I love to eat but always want to customize to the point where it’s more work than noodles. There are some canned soups I enjoy, which minimizes food prep, but I don’t want to eat them every day. When I had a grocery store that had reasonable quality sushi available, and great stuff in the hot foods bar (Oh, how I miss Wegman’s…), quick dinners that were slightly cheaper than eating out were always available. Trader Joe’s is also a blessing for dinners that come frozen- they are moderately engineered and involve packaging, but they are delicious and easy at least (albeit not terribly cheap). I do eat a lot of filled pasta with canned tomato sauce and/or store bought pesto, this is not a ridiculous amount of food prep for me. Oh! And I have a pre-made chili I like a lot, so if we have leftover rice or tortillas and cheese around (which we usually do), I’ve got a near instant meal that way.

    One of the few things I have learned is to make fruits and vegetables easy to grab so that if I’m going to eat on impulse, I get nutrients. Precut from the store can be great (although if you are big on developing lifelong habits, I would be a little wary of this- there’s actually some food pathogen reasons you might avoid precut fruits/veggies, once your past age 70 or so… also, wash and cook your mushrooms).

  2. kt Says:

    In my part of the world, there are great co-ops with somewhat economical ready-made food items. Tons cheaper than Whole Foods. Prepared by business-minded social-justicey hippies. I am not ashamed to admit that I shop there because I can offload the thinking to the board of directors of the co-op.

    Easy food prep, though: rice cooker cooking! Make your rice with broth and ten minutes before the end pour in chopped bok choy. Throw in a salmon fillet a bit before the end, and have salmon-bok choy-rice. Start your rice and pour in a can of tomatoes and some frozen veggies and have “spanish” rice. Throw in frozen shrimp and get “paella”. It’s not as minimal as just buying packaged food or having a chef, as you might have to wash a vegetable and then cut it into pieces. Anyhow, a fine set of techniques I picked up in college.

  3. chacha1 Says:

    This is one of those questions where there are really three questions and the answers are, as acknowledged, to some extent mutually exclusive. In order to arrive at the best long-term solution, the single most important concern has to be identified.

    I have the exact same three concerns, by the way. My solution, in view of a full-time job and two elderly and special-needs cats (now one), has been to jettison food prep. I have bought, and will continue to buy, pre-prepped food items that provide a decent range of nutrition and a relatively-low environmental impact. And by that I mean, I buy pre-prepped food items predominantly from the produce department and the deli.

    My low-prep lunch several days a week is oatmeal. I prep it at home in <2 minutes: half cup of old-fashioned oatmeal (not instant), scoop of instant dry milk, quarter cup of chopped walnuts, dash of sugar, scatter of dried cranberries, and four kinds of spices. I add water at the office and cook it with water for 1.5 minutes. The other days it's usually granola and plain Greek-style yogurt for lunch. Granola is not super environmentally friendly but at least I can get organic.

    For breakfast, a couple times a week I will make a PB&J and pack a Babybel cheese to go with it. I get an egg & cheese sandwich about 3x a week from the short-order downstairs in my office building for breakfast.

    This would be profoundly boring to most people, but it's cheap; it's fast; it's satiating; I know how many calories I'm getting; and did I mention it's cheap and fast. Most often my dinners are salads or a slow-cooker meal or soup; or we'll broil a couple of steaks and put them with frozen veggies. I do make my own soup by combining pantry ingredients. A couple of times a year I make stock. My line in the sand on after-work food prep is that I don't want to be in the kitchen for more than a half hour. I'm a pretty good cook but I don't really enjoy it, and I want to get it over with.

    It has to be accepted that any product made with wheat or corn has a very high environmental cost, as does any product made with beef, pork, or chicken. You simply cannot feed 318 million people without generating a lot of waste. The only low-waste way to eat is to grow your own, feed your scraps to your chickens, and compost anything left over. And that is the antithesis of "low prep."

    If you eat dairy products, there are lower-waste options but they are typically much more expensive and much less readily available, because the big dairy lobbies do their best to keep these competitors so hyper-regulated that they are effectively out of the national market. If you are interested in food production and agricultural issues, I highly recommend

  4. Linda Says:

    I wonder what is meant by “minimal environmental impact,” because the example (purchased rotisserie chicken) has quite an environmental impact. Even discounting the the environmental impact of raising and slaughtering that bird, the packaging is very wasteful.

    Anyway, short of hiring someone to do all the food prep and cooking there is no solution that meets all three requirements. That’s the easy answer. If Bogart is looking for real options that compromise a bit on all three conditions, then there a several possibilities.

    I find that Trader Joe’s has a lot of stuff in their refrigerated cases for easy meals, too. They have pre-cooked and sealed beef, chicken, and pork if you eat meat. If you’re vegetarian you can get seasoned tofu (and maybe tempeh? I can’t recall since I don’t usually eat those.) Veggies and fruits are available fresh or frozen that are fully prepped.

    Make full use of the salad bar at your local grocer. Buy pre-cooked, frozen shrimp. Eat canned fish, such as tuna, salmon, and sardines.

  5. ivy Says:

    Food miles are a red herring and overly simplistic – transport accounts for only 11% of the carbon emission in the food system as such the production system matters more. Whether local or not is better will depend on a whole range of factors (fertiliser inputs, pesticide use, soil quality, source of electricity etc etc) and these will vary by crop, season (due to environmental cost of storage) and the location you’re comparing with (e.g. WA apples vs. Australian or Chilean).
    Here’s a bit of an explanation

    A vegetarian diet will almost always more environmentally friendly than a diet that includes meat. And if things travel by plane the carbon emissions will be horrendous regardless of the distance!

    • ivy Says:

      argh – I forgot to say the thing that was really my overall point!
      Which really was don’t worry if food isn’t locally grown from an environmental point of view – other aspects of your diet and lifestyle will have a bigger impact – and you’ll likely have a bigger impact if you’re unhealthy!

    • Leah Says:

      I’ve also seen articles/studies that point to our own driving to the grocery store as being the most impact in terms of food miles. They advocated either buying bulk when you do go or just ordering food; having items delivered is actually fairly efficient, gas-wise, as long as the delivery mechanism delivers plenty of stuff in your area.

    • Rosa Says:

      Local matters in terms of local biodiversity and resilience – carbon is not the only environmental measure that’s important. Like you said, specifics matter a lot – the comparison shouldn’t be local apples to imported ones, it should be what’s nonlocal at the grocery store to what’s in season locally. Especially if you’re not driving to the store in the first place.

  6. bogart Says:

    Thanks for posting, and to the commenters. I haven’t read all of either the post or comments and am unfortunately too swamped at the moment to actively engage in the discussion much but will come back and read the whole thing. I’ll note that my dilemma (trilemma?) would actually be pretty easy were I just prepping food for myself, as I’m happy with (e.g.) an apple and chunk of cheese as a meal, but my family is not, so it’s identifying options that make them happy while still paying attention to those a/b/c things that proves challenging (and sure, having them cook at least outsources the problem, but we haven’t landed in a place where I can just get DH to do all the cooking, I regret to report). Quick reply to @Linda — sure, general environmental impact is the priority and good point on the packaging, obviously I was focusing on the fuel energy involved in cooking in the rotisserie chicken example so it likely falls short. And I’m not even starting to get at the issue of modifying food preferences, so examples of two things that are “right out” are vegetarian meals or fish-that’s-other-than-fried as DH dislikes both. Sigh. But, again, thanks for all ideas and I will come back and review thoroughly!

    • Linda Says:

      Wow, they don’t make it easy for you!

      If DH can’t step in to do all or most of the cooking, are the kids are too young to help with food prep, too? I read/heard/saw something to the effect that getting kids involved with food prep teaches them healthier eating patterns. But if they’re really young I’m sure the supervising is pretty painful.

      I’m not very much help with these things since I’m child free and partner free at this time, and I can forage for my meals in a way that suits me and me alone. Maybe just laying in some basic produce and protein and telling everyone (especially the more picky people) to fend for themselves could work to at least prove a point: if “real meals” are important to you, then you better produce them yourself. :-/

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Weird. If I didn’t care and they did, then I sure as heck wouldn’t be the one cooking (unless I wanted to). Apples and cheese every night.

      Your kid is old enough to do eggs, quesadillas, etc,

    • chacha1 Says:

      Yeah, it’s the other humans in the household that *really* complicate matters. :-) I am lucky that my DH will shut up and eat what I give him. If he gets tired of it … he knows where the takeout menus are.

    • Rosa Says:

      Well, being responsible for other humans who don’t share all your values changes things a lot. I had helpful suggestions from before I had a kid, starting with “just don’t cook if you feel like not cooking” and “make a big pot of something once a week” but if you’re going to also prioritize other people’s happiness they don’t really fly.

      Can you cook/not cook to your own preferences (my personal child is perfectly happy with a dinner of cut up apple with peanut butter and maybe a burrito if he’s still hungry – we keep a pot of rice or barley and a jar of refried beans in the fridge all the time. Or a fried peanut butter and jelly sandwich.) and let the people who don’t like your preferences cook for themselves? I know for me, it’s my feeling that we should be having “real” meals that makes me cook, more than the kid’s actual preferences.

      If you can afford it there’s probably a local restaurant that fits most of your criteria. The hot bar at our coop does for us, but it’s expensive so I don’t do it often. I think in general with the rotisserie chicken example you’re spot on – centralized production is more efficient! Except that relative labor costs sometimes mean restaurants make choices that save labor by wasting other resources.

      Charlotte Perkins Gilman designed a feminist apartment building that included a kitchen service, as part of her utopian writings – she envisioned picking up a meal, taking it back to your apartment to eat privately with your family, and then leaving the dishes outside the door like hotel room service. There’s a condo building, with a food court in it, along the major bike trail in my neighborhood, and I think that might be the perfect solution to a lot of things.

  7. Cloud Says:

    @bogart, I haven’t been able to get my husband- who actually likes cooking and is a good cook!- to take on weeknight cooking, either. We are generally a fairly egalitarian family, but this is a case where I clearly just care more and I can’t get him to change his habits enough to make an equal split of weeknight dinners feasible. The problem is he doesn’t care enough about having dinner roughly on time to leave work early enough to get home and cook it. I REALLY care because if it is late I snack like crazy on less than ideal things. Also, the kids snack like crazy on less than ideal things.

    Earlier this year I threw a massive wobbly over this and he is supposed to cook on Tuesday nights, which is pasta night. I’d say at least 50% of the time I have to start the water for him, but he almost always gets home in time to make the salad, so I guess I’ll take what I can get on this. Mostly, I’ve given up and accepted that he cooks on the weekends when there is the luxury of time and I cook on weeknights. I need to extract some other concession for this, though, because I hate it.

    Anyway, two other ideas that help make it somewhat bearable for me: (1) I have a schedule to our meals (see: and note that my schedule is still the same 3 years later, just pasta night and leftover night have swapped). (2) Boboli pizzas. I buy a big crust for me and my husband to top with things we like and two individual size crusts, one for each kid. One kid just wants cheese. As the other kid would say, whatevs. I occasionaly post my most successful quick recipes on my blog under the Dinner during Dora tag, but these are just quick, not no prep, so probably not what you’re looking for.

    • Leah Says:

      I know not everyone loves this, but have you looked at having him cook larger amounts on weekends that can take the place of some weeknight dinners? For example, maybe he makes two dinners on Sunday and one gets parceled out on T/Th during the week to give you a break. Or one weekend meal is something big like a giant pan of enchiladas or a bunch of chili that can be eaten several times. We’ve been slowly working toward this, and it’s been really helpful on busy nights.

  8. J Liedl Says:

    A personal chef or subscribing to a local chef service isn’t necessarily environmentally irresponsible. Even in my wildly remote northern city, we have several such entrepreneurs who offer meals or easy-to-finish ingredients for as many meals as you want to order from their offerings that week. It requires planning ahead, yes – to order a week ahead and then to go ahead and stick with these items on the day (no matter how wild the day gets).

    Personally, one of my solutions is to double prep as much as possible: making food for two or three meals at one go or prepping a big load of fruits and vegetables all at once. We eat mostly paleo and it requires a boatload of food prep. I listen to podcasts while I do so and delegate some parts to others in the family. But I still have to be chief cook in terms of planning and delegating. It sucks but someone has to do it and I have the skills. (Our personal compromise puts laundry responsibilities squarely on Spouse’s shoulders.)

  9. Solitary Diner Says:

    I have a long list of simple meals that can be made in about 15 minutes, and I tend to repeat them when I get busy. Here are some of the things I make:

    1) Spaghetti with meat sauce or tomato/tofu sauce
    2) Quesadillas (beans or meat, veggies (if I’m inspired), and cheese in a tortilla)
    3) Canned brown beans with toast or a baked potato
    4) Packaged salad greens with hard-boiled egg/leftover meat/cheese
    5) Frozen fish fillets with sauce and rice
    6) Scrambled eggs

    • Solitary Diner Says:

      Oh…and lots of burrito bowls! Rice and beans/meat are the only requirements, and I add various combinations of cheese, veggies, guacamole, salsa, sour cream, etc. depending on what is available (or needs to be used up) and what I feel like eating.

      For me, accepting that not everything is going to be fancy or taste fabulous is the key to feeding myself in a way that is efficient, somewhat healthy, and not ridiculously expensive.

  10. kt Says:

    I don’t remember who did this, but someone I knew lived in an apartment complex and basically just paid the Honduran grandma next door to cook a bunch extra a few times a week — this neighbor knew how to cook deliciously for a family and was happy to have the chance to do so, and got some marginal savings from cooking in bulk rather than just for an individual. So you don’t necessarily need to find a private chef with a website. Some communities have bulletin boards where you could look for this kind of arrangement. Someone retired who used to cook for a family and enjoyed it might be very happy to do this!

  11. Dana Says:

    Slow cooker doesn’t have to involve much prep work. If you are ok eating meat, there are a lot of easy and low prep options out there. Pour salsa on chicken, cook all day, done. Pour bbq sauce on chicken, same. Chicken, potatoes and onions (cut, so some prep) and curry paste and coconut milk makes an easy meal too. Make rice, noodles, etc right before dinner or eat as sandwiches.

    We cook more sometimes, but sometimes easy is important!

  12. Leah Says:

    Reducing environmental impact — going no meat on just one or two nights can be helpful there. Even if you increase packaging a little bit, the reduction in water use is big.

    We love a couple of the following which are very minimal in terms of prep:
    – packaged rice and beans (I’m partial to Vigo’s red beans and rice, but pick whatever)
    – chili (can of diced tomatoes, rinsed cans of whatever beans you like, and some chopped veggies — does your super market sell pre-chopped veg? We like bell pepper and onion) topped with cheese and sour cream
    – quesadillas
    – pasta with vegetarian sauce — you can buy packaged tortellinis and raviolis that are meat free and pretty delicious

  13. bogart Says:

    Thanks everyone! Sorry, this has arrived at a time when I’m running in circles for an array of reasons, but I do appreciate all the suggestions and there are several in here that are really helpful. I do have an approach somewhat similar to @SolitaryDiner’s (several easy go-to meals) and it’s helpful to be reminded of that. And while I’m not going to (and am not trying to) turn DH into a vegetarian, there are meals that he’ll accept (see below) that are meat free or lower meat, and so on. And while my original a/b/c was focused principally on the environmental impact of food prep (it does make me kind of crazy that in 2016 every house has fully equipped individual kitchens because — really? Obviously, if you like to prepare your own meals, ignore this rant. And I myself have a perfectly nice kitchen in part because I’ve realized not liking to prep food makes having a comfortable and reasonably equipped place to do so all the more important (given that I’m going to, in spite of not wanting to), of course there lots of other ways in which our meals (etc.) impact our world. So.

    Also, it’s ironic that I’m complaining, because DH and I (and really, it’s the intersection of our preferences that’s the issue) eat only 4 dinners together in any given week, and he reliably cooks one of those (though one issue is that he is pretty indifferent to the question of natural/artificial ingredients, which I am not, so just telling him “cook more” doesn’t necessarily solve the problem, even if he’s willing).

    Anyway, long story short, reading your comments has left me thinking that part of what’s going on is that whereas I am totally about the simple meals/prepped meals/leftovers, etc., DH really wants me to devote time and effort to cooking for him some of the time (perhaps ideally all of the time, but perhaps not). Now there’s part of me that’s all IBTP over that, and perhaps not wrongly so. But OTOH, if it’s important to him, I should probably just try to do it occasionally and see if that helps (including making him more at peace with an awareness that many of the meals I prep for us require almost no effort whatsover). Resulting resolution is that I will try to set Saturdays aside as a day when I will cook a “nice” (meaning, both nice but also that it took some time/effort) supper AND involve DS in same (picking up on N&M’s point that DS is certainly at an age when he can start being responsible for food prep, and we are moving in that direction though I must note that this is not, short-term, a labor-saving approach! But I figure I can at least try this idea for several months and see how it shifts (a) DH’s enthusiasm for what I prepare/serve (all of it, not just the tricky bits) and (b) DS’s kitchen skills.). So! With apologies for the multiple parentheses AND a quick note that because of our work/travel/social schedules, I have an entire month to wrap my head around this plan (i.e. it won’t be until August that I’ll actually have a Saturday when DH and I are both eating a dinner together at home), a mission unfolds…

  14. First Gen American Says:

    Food waste is by far the largest greenhouse gas contributor in the food chain. 1/3 of the food that’s produced is never eaten and represents 3.3 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases a year. In fact, if food waste was a country, it would be the 3rd largest greenhouse gas emitter behind US and China. (From Food Foolish)

    The greenest thing you can do is not throw your food away. (granted, that’s only part of the problem, a lot is due to transport too).

    I try to buy from local farmers when it makes sense but it doesn’t always make sense. I will always buy a tomato in the winter from a hot climate vs a heated greenhouse in my frigid climate. Some of these blanket statements like “buy local” don’t make sense all of the time, especially if you have long cold winters.

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