Every week people in town look forward to our Full Circle delivery. A box of fresh goods to replenish the fruit bowl or the empty produce drawer. For those who aren't familiar, Full Circle is a farm-to-table company based out of Carnation, WA. They farm 450 acres of land east of Seattle, raising 60 different crops and then partnering with dozens of additional farmers and food artisans to bring seasonal organic produce & groceries to customers through their farm-to-table program. They provide boxes of produce and other goodies (like chocolate and cheese) on a weekly basis to communities in Washington, Idaho and even in far flung parts of Alaska.
So our remote little hamlet on the shores of the Prince William Sound gets weekly deliveries of farm fresh fruits & veggies from the Lower 48, via jet service from Seattle on Alaska Airlines. Maybe not what people typically think of when they think of supporting "local" farms and farmers, but around here it brings in a weekly crop of fresh organic goods that are hard to beat.
Food systems are an interesting thing here in Cordova, quite the juxtaposition of local, wild, organic against some very long traveled, goods from the big box stores. Looking in a neighbor's pantry you'll likely see jars of homepacked wild salmon and local jams & jellies, freezers full of deer and moose meat right next to rows and rows of goods from Costco and Fred Meyers, likely purchased on a trip to Anchorage. And then perhaps supplemented with fresh produce from Full Circle delivered on the jet.
We're not really on the way to anywhere. There is no road to Cordova, all goods have to come on boat or plane so for food to get here it needs to live here or get shipped here directly. Of course resulting in some limited choices and some higher prices. The cost of transportation is added in to every apple, every potato, every box of crackers, etc.
Take a look at where we are:
It sort of makes a person pine for the selection of a Northwest Farmer's Market or even a trip to a well stocked produce section or meat counter. On a recent work trip to San Diego, one of my two checked bags on my flight home contained coconuts, mangoes, pomegranates, persimmons and fresh cheeses. I wanted to bring home a flat of the fresh tomatoes from their farmer's market but I thought the results might be disastrous.
I think I'd be accurate in saying that when people leave Cordova for work or pleasure, most people go out of their way to bring food back with them.
It's interesting that in a country with a surplus of options for year round food, in endless varieties, we actually have some limits here. We do have two grocers in town and they are great, they even stock exotic foods like lemongrass, plantains, sushi wrappers and coconut water amongst your typical fare. But for many people the allure of a favorite, fresher product still leaves them sourcing food from beyond the city limits.
Full Circle is one of the ways that many people here and in other rural towns in Alaska fill that niche. We're thankful to have access to their delivery and grateful for the folks in town here who work to make it accessible for all of us. Sprinkled throughout my upcoming posts I'll be including some of the ways we enjoy our weekly goodies. Especially with thanksgiving right around the corner. I think we're all excited to spend some time in the kitchen.
Cranberry sauce anyone?
On a final note, just as I was pondering the network of our food systems here we got a phone call from a neighbor... It reminded me that one must never forget that there is always the outside chance that your neighbor might win the giant pumpkin from the contest at the grocery store and a large slice might just be delivered to your doorstep.
I think I see a very large bowl of pumpkin soup in our near future!