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Pat McGovern, a retired teacher in Lebanon, N.H., took a spartan approach last year, giving up coffee in favor of mint tea and hot cider and forgoing spices. She says, "What I missed most was black pepper." This year she and 20 friends went all local for a week in January--hardly a season of plenty in New England. It wasn't so bad, what with baked squash, wheat-berry porridge, Vermont-cheese fondue, Indian pudding, parsnips, maple-apple pie and even elk and emu meat. But now that they have nothing to prove, they're reverting to August, as are two Vermont groups. Why make the effort at all? McGovern says she feels powerless to fight the globalization of the food supply, "But locally, I can vote with my food dollar three times a day--breakfast, lunch and dinner."
Embracing a one-month 100-mile diet inspires many locavores to eat more seasonally year-round, feasting on vine-ripened tomatoes in summer and crisp apples in the fall. And they are seeking to expand their movement by relaxing the rules a bit. "I'd rather seduce with a stalk of asparagus than preach denial," says Fisher, who refuses to give up rice or tropical fruit. "I don't deny myself anything that isn't grown in Ohio," she explains. "Humans have traded foodstuffs with each other since Neolithic times." In her corner of Appalachia, she has found tofu made from local soybeans, bacon from nearby pigs and aquaculture shrimp. She forages for wild leeks to make pesto. But sometimes she wonders, "Maybe I have a weird idea of fun?"