a boots-on-the-ground view of the change that's a-foot

by Tao Oliveto, Brattleboro, VT

Our first meal in Brattleboro was at the local Co-op down the street from our historically amazing hotel (see below). Now that I think about it – while we enjoyed coffee, tea and homemade goodies from many other local establishments – our first, last and most meals in between were at the co-op down the street. This is not a coincidence. A food co-op is high on my list of priorities when I’m choosing a travel destination. It allows me to eat in a healthy, simple, affordable and local way, and on my own schedule. I can also stock up on wholesome snacks to stow away for other activities like hiking.

If you’re thinking this is some kind of sacrifice – think again. In addition to organic produce and bulk items like nuts and energy snacks, co-ops usually have “salad, etc.” bars and delicious-looking hot foods (which change daily), in addition to local specialties like baked goods and farm products. In this case, we tried various local cheeses and yogurt and even an outstanding chocolate bar by Taza, made in Somerville, MA. In fact, my first meal was entirely local and organic: baby swiss cheese, cultured daikon and cabbage, fresh-baked bread with local butter and even tapioca pudding – compliments of a cow named Stella. From the hot bar, we experienced excellent scrambled eggs, breakfast burritos, vegetarian lasagna and polenta.

I like meeting co-op employees and other patrons, too – friendly, interesting and interested folks who don’t look at you funny when you pull out your canvas shopping bag or your cloth napkin. We even stumbled in on a wine-tasting event one day – no plastic cups! They gave each person their own real wine glass to use for the event. We did buy a bottle at the local wine store and when we mentioned we were at the hotel, we were offered two glasses to take with us and return later.

I save sit-down dining for selected occasions, so I’m not sure how much less I spent eating this way, but I imagine it is significant in terms of the average traveler. As you’ve read, though, I’m in it for the experience, curiosity and to satisfy my green greediness. I’ve been munching my way through many miles this way and I always end up feeling healthy, energized and happy to be part of the local economy of each new place.

Happy and deliciously greener travels.

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2 Responses to “”

  1. phyllisdiehl Says:

    i love the way you described your dining experience. i espeicially loved the lunch with cheese, yogurt, and lasagna and scrabbled eggs. sounds so good and yummy and healthy….thanks again for writing all the details, i enjoyed every word…..again, my thanks to you

  2. Bill O Says:

    Sigh…I’m glad that your travels were so enjoyable and that you have found such a great place. The selfish part of me is dreading the day when you all move and I won’t have one of our chance conversations at “The Eye”. I’ll always be scanning for your carbon offset Prius!

    Be well…

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