Knowing Where Your Food Comes From … On Vacation

| 1/29/2013 9:58:33 PM

Tags: travel, Puerto Rico, local food, tropical fruit, Ilene White Freedman, House in the Woods Farm, Mother Earth News, Ilene White Freedman,

We traveled to Puerto Rico this month for a getaway before the farming season gets underway. I raise my family and my farm business with a mission to teach where our food comes from. To get to the source of it, find it, participate in it, own it, understand it, tend it, dig it out of the dirt and harvest it. So how do you travel with this intention, of eating locally and connecting to your food sources? Noah loves to know his food sources, just like his mama. Jonah loves star fruit, so we knew that we’d need to find a starfruit tree. We set on our Puerto Rico trip, with a mission to eat fruit not far from the tree.

I went with an eye for an adventure, to dig a little deeper into the culture and find food from the source. The typical grocery stores in Puerto Rico mainly stock food from the continental US. Just like back home, you have to dig deeper to find the local sources.

We stayed a night at The Fajardo Inn in the easterly little harbor town of Fajardo, Puerto Rico. The owner of this little resort inn has a personal interest in tropical fruit trees. They start their own seedlings, propogating them around the property and selling some plants. I got all excited when we went down to the juice bar in the morning and the juice bar guy starting pulling little baggies out of the freezer to make our smoothies. He told me they freeze the fruit from around the property in individual serving sizes for the smoothies. I know it was true, because he mumbled about how difficult it is to peel and cut mangoes. I bet that is some work when the mangoes ripen all at once. My kids followed another employee who was giving a tour of the fruit trees and he gave them starfruit.  Did I mention Jonah loves star fruit? He eats them whole, but when you cut them into slices, they look like little stars.


I asked locals in Fajardo where to buy local fruit and sent Phil to the pueblo’s fruit stand to stock up on papaya, avocado, oranges and bananas. They pressed a little bag into his hand full of a local fruit they called kiwi but they tasted like baked pears. It was a mix of local and elsewhere, but we were getting close.

Our local quest became a source for some adventure and brought us closer to the local people as well as the local food. In the little beach town of Esperanza on Vieques island, we asked our driver where we could get local fish. It took some pressing to explain we didn’t want to go to a restaurant, we wanted a fish market so we could cook it ourselves at our rental home. He shook his head, thinking, and then his face lit up. He drove us to the fisherman’s house! Phil arranged that the next day, the fisherman would save four red snapper for us from the day’s fishing. It was delicious and same day fresh, cooked on the grill. After a couple days, we made friends with our local neighbors as well, who shared mangos, starfruit and aguanabo (maybe guava?) with us from the trees in their yards.

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