The Locavore Christmas

By Lisa Gosselin, "The Locavore Christmas," November/December 2010

EatingWell's Lisa Gosselin reflects on small town holiday spirit.

Then, one November morning as I was picking up my mail at the general store, I saw the game warden, tall and lanky in his drab green uniform.

“Excuse me,” I asked hesitantly, “do you know where I could get some venison?” The warden sized me up. I became acutely aware that I was in stockings and heels, remnants of my old urban life. He stirred another packet of creamer into his coffee and watched it dissolve.

“Around here, ma’am,” he finally replied, “most people get it themselves.
A deer can help get you through the winter.” The store had suddenly grown silent. “Do you hunt?”

I could feel a dozen eyes on me now. “,” I said meekly.

“The other option,” he said slowly, “is that sometimes we get road kill.”

I gulped. “What happens then?” I asked. As soon as I did, I regretted it. A snicker came from over by the cash register.

“If I know someone wants one, I’ll drop off a carcass.”

I inched toward the door.

“Do you butcher?” the warden asked.

I hastily murmured a thank you. Then, for some reason, as I backed out of the store I began babbling, explaining Dad’s penchant for saddle of venison (“Best part of the deer,” the warden interjected), that my great-grandfather had owned a general store in central Vermont, that this was the first Christmas dinner I had ever made for my parents. I turned to make my final retreat, stumbled and dropped my mail.

Magazines and bills scattered across the rough floor. The warden bent down stiffly. But as he collected them, he softened. “Listen,” he said, handing back my Banana Republic catalog, “write down your number and if I find some venison, I’ll call you.”

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