I'm a huge fan of locally grown and brewed and being a locavore is good in many ways. It benefits the environment, the local economy, and the local community as well. In the best case, one would know where all the products used came from. Is it always possible? No, but here in the Midwest, we do have thriving agricultural and beermaking communities, making it relatively easy to eat and drink local if we put our mind to it.
Anna Blessing's books, Locally Grown and Locally Brewed (both published by Midway, an Agate imprint), make that abundantly clear.
Based in Chicago, Blessing tours the immediate Midwest, showcasing farms that provide artisanal products that are justly celebrated in some of the city's top restaurants. Ranging from small urban farms to generational family businesses, the focus is on sustainability, community, and connections. Information on the farms, their websites, restaurants they work with, and recipes fill each chapter of Locally Grown, and are an inspiration to find more of these kinds of businesses to support.
Expanding beyond the immediate Chicago area, Blessing moves further afield in Locally Brewed, though still stays in the Midwest. Each brewery is introduced, foibles and fancies explained, and the brewer's personal musical peccadilloes examined. If you can read this book and not want to reach for a local handcrafted beer, you've been brainwashed by too many corporate beer ads.
Both of these books are a locavore resource on a very personal scale. Beyond simply relating information about these various entities, Blessing manages to personalize them and inspire one to eat and drink local. Though written about the Midwest, these books are important for everyone that aspires to know where the food and beer they ingest come from. Reading these books might be the inspiration to learn about the important producers in your area, going beyond the immediate farmer's market and brewery.
These books were provided for review purposes - all opinions are my own.
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