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Go Local

Published in the May 2022 Issue Published online: May 19, 2022 Articles, Best of IF, Family Fun Guide, Lifestyle, Shopping Gregg Losinski
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 BY GREGG LOSINSKI

IN AN ERA where world events are impacting supply chains on everything from cream cheese to computer chips, learning to buy locally sourced products makes sense on a lot of different levels. Raising fuel costs means that even if you can get it shipped to you, odds are that it is going to cost more. Working to cut out the middleman makes dollars and sense.

When I was a kid, I remember that walking in the back door of a shoe store meant walking past a shoe repair shop. The smell of leather being worked is something I will never forget. Today most of our shoes are made in faraway lands and designed not to be repaired. This means that shoe repair shops are nearly a thing of the past.

Here in Idaho Falls, we have lost our downtown shoe repair shop, but we are still fortunate to have Tom’s Shoe Repair on First Street. There are enough leather items that can still be repaired if you are fortunate enough to have someone with the skill. The smell of the leather there is enough to transport you back to simpler times where even if something isn’t locally made, someone down the block could repair it. How many folks still remember the TV and radio tube testing machines that used to be at the entrance of every grocery store?

Speaking of grocery stores, isn’t being able to run out anytime to one of our local grocery stores to buy fruit and vegetables a handy thing? Thanks to a global supply chain everything is always in season somewhere.

We are fortunate to have a great little farmer’s market each Saturday in the summer down by the river. Strolling through the farmer’s market helps recalibrate your season’s clock. There used to be a time when things like oranges were a holiday treat because that was the only time they were easily available. Today they lack that specialness because we can always get them.

I always have a little chuckle when I go into the grocery store and see non-Idaho grown potatoes for sale. Given our pride in our “Famous Potatoes,” I’m amazed our legislature never banned all other intruders. It just doesn’t seem right to eat a Washington grown potato in Idaho!

Another commodity with strong cultural ties that we still produce in large quantities locally is honey. Newcomers might be surprised to discover the meaning of the word deseret and it’s not just the name of a secondhand store.

Idaho Falls is surrounded by more than just fields full of our famous potatoes. A lot of barley is grown around here, specifically for brewing beer. Those huge concrete towers south of town are malting facilities for beer that is brewed all over the United States and Mexico! Fortunately, some grains stay local and are used by our local breweries. If you want to support local growers and brewers, then be sure to enjoy a cold one on tap from Idaho Brewing Company. Tell Wolf I sent you!

Most of the time when you think about buying locally you think of limited selection and small-scale production. While that might be true in a lot of cases, we just happen to have the health and wellness product giant, Melaleuca, right here in our own backyard. Not only do they have a huge selection of products to choose from, but when you buy from them you are helping to support the Melaleuca Freedom Celebration. It’s one of the best fireworks displays in the nation, right here in little old Idaho Falls.

If you fly fish then you might be lucky enough to catch a locally made Fin Fun mermaid by the tail, using our own hometown brand Rio Lines while floating down the South Fork in a Hyde Drift boat built locally and pulled behind a truck using one of our very own Anderson Hitches. Who said buying local couldn’t be fun!

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