I got up nearly at the crack of dawn (just before seven, the cracks of dawn come later and later as the year grows older) to make sure I’d find a place to park at the Slow Food Festival in the next village. It was still quite dark when I got up for my morning dip. The water’s 13C so it’s still dippable. The festival didn’t start until 10, but I like to take my time in the morning.
I don’t remember what time I went to the festival last year, maybe later, there seemed to be more people then. This year I got there before ten. I was going to have some coffee and a cinnamon roll while waiting (it’s the National Cinnamon Roll Day), but the cinnamon rolls were still in the oven so coffee had to wait.
Going that early was overdoing it a bit, but I was thinking back to the beginning of July and the antiques fair and nearly having to park in someone's field. Slow food doesn't seem to attract as large a crowd as antiques. A chunk of meat is a chunk of meat and you can always order more. You can't order more antiques. And yes, this was a Slow Food Festival
The goods sold at this festival come from close by, by any definition. The chunk of meat I bought was packed the day before yesterday just 14 km away at an organic farm where the animal was born and raised. The jar of plum jam was made 23 km away. The wild, curvy-horned sheep one guy raises for meat live on an island so they’re maybe a bit further away. One guy was selling Swedish plums, cheat; but maybe the plums came over slowly.
I came to the country this weekend specifically because of this happening. I drove 86 km to the cottage and another 17 km to this happening. The goods are grown locally but – strictly speaking – are they local for me?
The last litre of fresh blueberries I bought came from the Oulu region. From now on it’s frozen blueberrries until next summer. Depending on where in the Oulu region they came from, that can be anything up to 680 km (as the crow flies) from where I live. Or if it’s near the city of Oulu, the distance is something like 540 km. Let’s say 610 km, on average. How local is that? It’s domestic but is that what counts?
How is ”local” defined? Merriam-Webster says ”relating to or occuring in a particular area, city or town”. That’s a bit vague, applies for anything. Oxford English Dictionary says ”Relating or restricted to a particular area or one’s neighbourhood”. Neighbourhood is closer.
”Domestic” is definitely one criteria. However, my domestic is someone else’s imported. My imported is someone else’s domestic.
Geographic distance is another criteria, but does domesticity outweigh distance? Fish caught in Estonia on the southern shores of the Gulf of Finland may have been in Finnish territorial waters a little while ago. Caught in Estonian waters they’re still caught maybe just 50 km from where I live. The other day I bought some Latvian mushrooms. All of Latvia is closer than the Oulu region and there’s the Gulf of Finland and Estonia in between.
Karldstad in Sweden, on the northern coast of Lake Vänern is 634 km away. Vilnius in Lithuania is 615 km away (with the Gulf of Finland, Estonia and Latvia in between). And somehow my blueberries from Oulu or somewhere thereabouts seem closer.
I'm Piisa and I will be sharing with you my thoughts on this and that, maybe even on whatever.