Local to Someone: Temptations From Elsewhere

A couple weeks ago, a friend of mine spent a weekend in Nashville. I enjoyed that city's spoils for almost four years during my tenure at the Nashville Scene, so I was giddy with suggestions. I not only gave him a full program of must-visit restaurants, but also told him exactly what to order. I asked only one thing in return for my spectacular advice: He needed to bring me a pound of Drew's Brews Thick French coffee beans.

Local living can be complicated. We all want to support small, independent, local businesses, but what if they don't happen to be local to us. I'm not saying this coffee is the best in the world, but it's my favorite. It's also organic and fair trade. Plus, I know the guy who roasts it; he lived in my neighborhood and we frequented the same watering holes. His name is Drew (surprise). He's friendly and has a beard.

Ever since I moved back to Philly I've been thinking about ordering some of this coffee online. The Thick French variety in particular—pitch black and transcendently aromatic—was the soundtrack to my weekend mornings in Nashville, sipped greedily at Marché brunch. I'd often overdo it and leave with my head swimming.

But I'm a locavore, right? We have plenty of great coffee here. Support local businesses. Boost regional economy. Blah Blah Blah. I want my Thick French! (That said, I've been serving Burlap & Bean at Casa de Lee recently, and really enjoying it.)

My friend's visit offered the perfect loophole, but it got me to thinking about the allowances and compromises we all make when trying to live more locally and sustainably. (No one better come for my comté.) Once I've burned through my bag of Drew's Brews—no doubt getting more hooked than ever—I'll have to ponder this conundrum once again. Or perhaps I can just see if anyone from Music City is itching for a visit to Philly...