While packing for a long drive south, two thoughts came to mind:  1) What if the fire and brimstone preachers are right and all sinners go to hell?  2) Then my flaring eternity will be spent at a Roy Rogers restaurant, alongside an eight lane highway.

The Current Map of Options; Courtesy of Serious Eats

To avoid this version of hell now, I’m researching how to find organic, local food in the towns along our route to New Orleans.  Does anyone have a suggestion how to do this?  I’m all eyes.  Here’s what I’ve found thus far:

Before we leave the Holland Tunnel, New Yorkers have a wonderful resource in www.whatisfresh.com.  It lists all of our local farmers’ markets, including what days of the week they are open and what ingredients to expect when you get there.  Looking in the third week of December, I had no idea so many markets remain open during the winter months.

Now to the New Jersey Turnpike and beyond:  Where do we go from here?

The best bet I have found is the Eat Well Guide.  It’s great for singular destinations — one town or zip code, for example.  The “Plan a Trip” feature, however, is tough to use.  Granted, I’m going a long distance, so pages of results come up, but nonetheless, it’s cumbersome.  I’ve logged in a few stopping points along the route, but I’m afraid it’s not a way to create a map of local, seasonal places from here to Nola.  (I still love you Eat Well Guide, I’m just not sure we’re right together for the long road.)

The second consideration is an iphone app called Locavore.  But it is more for cooks, than diners.  Locavore lists the seasonally available produce, but doesn’t provide any information on nearby restaurants that will cook it up.  What it does have — oddly enough — is running commentary from other app users about what they just ate.  I think Twitter is finally ridding itself of the “here’s what I had for lunch” rep, but don’t worry, you can still follow along here.  Yes, these are my people, but I’m no fan of the dietary playbook.

So, can one find delicious, non-industrial food along America’s highways?  Or is it “Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter Here”?

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