I went grocery shopping yesterday, the first time in nearly one month. The increase in food prices in that short stretch of time shocked me. In fact, the usual price of $1.29 for a 2-pound bag of onions had just about doubled. Ditto for a slue of other items.
My diet has not varied much since fishing season opened and wild plants became available once again. Trout, fiddleheads, dandelions, dock and groundnuts truly rate as epicurean fare. Yet, I longed for some store-bought food. And so when my paycheck arrived, I visited the local superette.
I wonder what other shoppers thought when they overhead me blurting out my astonishment. “My gosh, no way,” or “That’s robbery.” But that just illustrates the degree of my astonishment. At the same time I thought of others, people who depend upon grocery stores for their sustenance. I wondered what low-income types would do, now that food prices are on a par with luxury items.
My reason for mentioning this lies in the release of my latest book, Wild Plants of Maine, A Useful Guide. It seems to me that people who spend hundreds of dollars a month (I spend about $40, if that) on groceries, can save bucks and eat healthier by taking advantage of the free, wild plants that grow all around. Given the unreasonably-high price of food, the time for getting back to the free bounty provided by nature has surely arrived.
In fact, were it not for foraging, gardening, fishing and so on, I don’t know how I would survive. Of course these things are more than just cost-saving measures…they are passions, part of my life that become more dear and important with each passing year.
So just maybe, in some small part at least, I can have some input in people’s lives through my writing. And that rates as a legacy to cherish.