Dedicated local eater that I am, there has always been one item on my grocery list that I can’t live without. One that you can’t find at any farmer’s market, is heavy to ship, requires a lot of packaging, and the closest local source is Maine. What is it, you ask (breathlessly), what magical food item is so important that you sacrifice your values, and the environment, to ship it from Maine? Sparkling water. That’s right, you heard me. Seltzer, soda, touch o’ the fizz, whatever you call it, I can’t live without it.
In my post-college days I was all about Perrier. So bubbly, so French, so green. Then I switched to San Pellegrino. A bit more refined, more urban, more…. Italian. In later years I was all about Gerolsteiner. Hey, they sponsor a team in the Tour de France. And they sell it at Trader Joe’s. What’s not to like? Well, I’ll tell you. Shipping glass bottles of water from Germany to support my addiction, that’s what’s not to like.
I tried to give it up. I really did. I stopped buying my beloved, spendy, European mineral waters, and tried to be happy with just plain old well water. I found myself buying Reed’s Ginger Beer instead. Or those sparkling Italian sodas from Trader Joe’s. Because shipping sparkly beverages with sugar from far away is so much better. In the end, I compromised – both my taste buds and my principles. I settled on Poland Spring sparkling water; not quite as yummy, nor as refined, as my Euro faves, but also in plastic bottles (lighter to ship, easily recyclable) and based in Maine (closer to me than Germany, certainly).
Until now. My beloved husband got me the best Christmas present ever – local fizzy water. In the form of a SodaStream home soda maker. We have the basic version, complete with three CO2 cartridges (enough for 180 liters of fizzy water! be still my addicted heart) although I confess a fondness for the too-cute penguin version as well. It is, in a word, awesome. My well water, fizzified, is deliciously yummy. No more Poland Spring bottles clogging up the recycling bin. No more eco-guilt over my bubbly addicition. No more trudging down to the freezing garage to get another bottle of sparkling water. No more embarrassment when your pregnant friend stops by and all you have to offer her is wine, tequila, or well water (sans fizz). A little local fizzy, a dollop of blackberry juice from a few thawed blackberries, and a frozen berry garnish, et, voila! Mom-to-be cocktails suitable for a fancy brunch (or an afternoon of chick flicks & popcorn).
I don’t know why we didn’t do it ages ago. Despite all the obvious eco-advantages of no longer shipping water all over the place to sustain my addiction, the product itself is Earth Friendly. The plastic water bottles are BPA-free, the CO2 canisters are returnable (with mailing address labels included in their shipment) and reusable, and it’ll save us money in the long run. It’s a win-win-win!