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When I was born I lived in New Jersey with my parents near the Jersey shore. This is where my parents grew up and where we went almost every summer after we moved away to New York state. My dad worked at a fish market when we were living in New Jersey so fish and shellfish were popular items on our family menu, even after we moved inland. My dad loved to eat clams, steamers, mussels, snails and octopus, so growing up I had acquired a palate for these foods early on. When I was five I remember eating clams “on the half shell” with my dad. Cherry stone, little neck and quahog were all part of my vocabulary at that age and I thought it was fun to eat the squid and scungilli antipasto my dad used to make. Manhattan clam chowder was also a favorite whenever my dad would make a batch.  Even though I am typically a New England chowder kind of girl his version of this red stew, loaded with clams, celery, carrots, potatoes and onions, is better than any other I’ve ever had. I am a little more conservative now when it comes to shellfish consumption but I do miss those special days like Father’s Day when my dad would cook up a huge pot of savory steamers and mussels with melted butter on the side for dipping.

When I was living in Rhode Island for several years after I moved away from home I began to take the local seafood there for granted. We may not have many more opportunities for enjoying shellfish with disasters like the BP oil spill destroying our coastal waters and its marine life.  It makes me so sad to sit here helplessly while more and more oil flows into one of the world’s most precious habitats. Not to mention all the people living in the affected areas and those whose livelihoods are in ruin because they depend on farming the ocean… It is a tragedy. I can try to do something, though. We all can. We can eat more locally whenever possible, reducing the distance our food has to travel to get to our plates, thus reducing the amount of fuel needed to get it there. Growing our own food is the best solution but local farmer’s markets and farm stands are equally as good and readily available to many of us this time of year. I have added a few links for finding local food options across the U.S. under the Quick Click! heading. Maybe if we all start thinking locally we can start reducing oil consumption globally and start saving our planet one meal at a time.