Carmichael’s, the restaurant her family owns in my new novel, has me looking more closely at others.

The daily soup special at the family restaurant in my new novel, What’s Left, was one way to introduce the now widely touted practice of local sourcing, perhaps with a hint of organic gardening. Here it begins when Cassia’s great-grandmother and her sister make rounds of nearby farms, gardens, and orchards in search of fresh produce, eggs and dairy, and perhaps meat. (I never get quite that specific, but a quick brushstroke will do.) The action picks up with her parents’ generation and its back-to-the earth movement – one in which I suspect some bartering might have occurred. Used cooking oil, for instance, has found value as motor fuel for some farmers.

Here’s an early description I fed to the chickens, as it were, rather than send on in the final version:

Pia picks up on Yiayia Dida and Yiayia Athina’s rounds of local farms. Sometimes, even in the midst of another pregnancy, she takes the now willowy Yiayia Athina along. And sometimes she goes with Graham.


Local sourcing can get tricky, if you’re expecting a predictable supply line. If you’re flexible, though, nothing beats freshness for flavor.

Do you shop at a natural foods store, a farmers market, or roadside stand? Do you go out to the farm to pick your own? Any advice or insights for others?


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