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Weathering Change

A family from Bothell, a TV host and a high school sophomore take a shot at cutting greenhouse gas emissions. See how they're doing.


May 10, 2007

Mozzarella from across the Atlantic

Posted by Nancy Guppy at 03:44 PM

I am most happy to report some positive self-control in the carbon footprint department.

A few days back I was shopping at Trader Joe's — love the store and but hate the tiny parking lot that makes me want to play bumper cars with the other drivers.

Now, before I go any further, I know what "B" would have to say:

"Hang on, Nancy. We both know how close you live to Trader Joe's, so instead of driving, why not walk?"

"Yeah, thanks for your input 'B', but this particular entry is about a positive decision I made, plus it's my blog, so quit butting in."

Anyway, I had a craving for fresh mozzarella cheese — you know, those soft white cheese balls that come packed in water. I headed to the cheese section and voila!, a single, beautiful large fresh mozzarella ball was staring me in the face — perfect! Now, I wasn't fond of the plastic container encasing the cheese, but hey, fresh cheese has to be transported somehow, so into the basket it headed. But first, the label. I started reading food labels a while back, searching for any evidence of those axis-of-evil trans fats, but mostly to find out where products are produced and shipped — city/state/country.

Uh oh. This beautiful ball had been flown in (first class?) from Italy. Huh. My first thought, "How fresh could it be"? My second, much more important thought, "How much fuel was expended to get this way-less-than-a-pound item to it's final destination — Seatte/Washington/USA? Here's a very rough calculation:

1) Car/truck transport from the Italian dairy farm where the cheese was made, to the waiting jet plane


2) Jet plane across the Atlantic


3) Refrigerated truck picks up cheese from the plane and drives to the food distribution center


4) Refrigerated distribution center truck drives the cheese to my local Trader Joe's

Needless to say, I went home empty handed, and instead of soft white cheese, I ate a snack of potato chips that were manufactured in Addison, Illinois, and purchased by my loving but seriously un-enlightened husband.

"But Nancy, by eating those shipped-from-far-away potato chips, don't you become un-enlightened as well?"

"Oh, can it, 'B.' Illinois is a lot closer than, Italy, okay?"

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