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Simplified Eating While You Travel

As Published In Professional Organizers Blog Carnival
Simplified Eating While You Travel

When I travel, one of my central joys is having easy and inexpensive access to local foods. An area just tastes better to me when I’m eating regionally — plus it makes my trip less costly, more ecologically and economically friendly, and more memorable. But planning a fresh-food menu takes a bit more planning and preparation than driving a drive-through meal.

Straight From The Earth

Most people have no idea what really fresh vegetables taste like — produce that lived in local dirt and was allowed to ripen naturally in the sun, instead of being grown in another country, sprayed with chemicals, “forced” into season, and shipped in a refrigerated cargo container.  You also get your food cheaper when it comes straight from Farmer John’s field.

And don’t worry about variety — I’ve bought salmon jerky and dried morel mushrooms in Oregon, pesto and garlic-stuffed olives in California, marmalade in Florida, fiddleheads in New Brunswick, and cheese curds in Wisconsin. I also tend to eat more “in season” — whatever is being harvested at that time, in that region. Americans are so spoiled that they want to buy potatoes in March and fresh oranges in December. I think this demand for instant gratification comes from eating the same foods day-in and day-out. Folks get bored with their diet and want something “new” (even if it’s not in season). This is never an issue for me. We’re always eating something “new” — and because they’re only available for a limited portion of our trip, we enjoy these treats all the more while we do have them.

Pick It Yourself

Another fun way to reconnect with your food is to visit a u-pick. They’re the perfect option if you like getting out in the weather, playing in the dirt, and being incredibly particular about the fruits and vegetables you take home. Plus you get your food straight out of the ground, as fresh as possible — usually chemical- and pesticide-free.

U-picks are pretty straightforward — you go into the field or orchard, pick your own produce, have it weighed, and pay for your purchase (at a much less expensive per-pound price than in a grocery store). I’ve self-harvested tomatoes, citrus fruits, strawberries, blueberries, pumpkins, corn, Christmas trees, and pecans — but some items just don’t seem to show up on the u-pick list (I’ve never seen a farm where you dig up your own potatoes!) U-picks used to litter the landscape, but are a bit harder to find now. We had at least a half-dozen u-pick farms in my town — all but one have been plowed under and covered with a shopping center. But they say that’s progress.

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Ramona Creel is an award-winning 15-year veteran organizer and member of the National Association Of Professional Organizers. As well as having birthed “The A-To-Z Of Getting Organized,” Ramona is also the author of “The Professional Organizer’s Bible: A Slightly Irreverent And Completely Unorthodox Guide For Turning Clutter Into A Career”—and the creator of more than 200 “quick-start” business tools and templates for use by productivity professionals. She writes seven different blogs, has worked with hundreds of clients, and has delivered scores of presentations on getting organized. Ramona resides on the roads of America as a full-time RVer—living and working in a 29-foot Airstream. Learn more at and

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One Response

  1. I can never understand people who travel to new cities only to eat at the same restaurants they have back home. You’ve taken it a step further by showing that the benefits of eating local go far beyond enhancing the travel experience. On behalf of the planet, I thank you.

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