Week 11 Challenge: Eat Local Foods

Way back in Week 3, I talked about choosing local when we did our local meat challenge. This week, we are trying to make all foods (or at least more of them) local. We have been working on finding more local foods. So far we have been enjoying the following:

Carriage House Farm, no grocery store is closer. Volunteering in their garden has gotten us quite a variety of super yummy food including pak choy, lettuce, mizuna, swiss chard, radishes, peas, beans, carrots, potatoes, onions, garlic, tomatoes, peppers, cabbage, basil, dill, cucumbers and some others I’m sure I’m forgetting. They also produce honey that I can buy at the local hardware store, but have to go to the Farmer’s market or Whole Foods for their corn meal and whole wheat flour (which I do). Planning to try the black beans soon. They use organic sustainable farming methods.

Gravel Knolls Farm, just 10 minutes from Hubby’s work. Belonging to this CSA, we have gotten a lot of yummy veggies including garlic, onions, lettuce, swiss chard, zucchini, yellow and other squashes, lima beans, carrots, corn, potatoes, peppers, cabbage, okra, a variety of herbs and more. They also have free range chicken and eggs, which we regularly purchase. I have a few chickens in the freezer now for use in future months. They use organic, sustainable farming methods.

Webers Farm, 10 minutes from home. Hands down, the very best sweet corn I have ever had. We have purchased from here in the past and are happy to see the red barn open again this year. At last week’s visit they had onions, cucumbers, potatoes, peppers and corn. They are a low spray farm.

Grassland Graze, 15-20 minutes from Hubby’s work. Awesome grass-fed beef. I just bought 50 lbs for 7% discount. Should last us several months.

Meadow Maid organic raw milk cheeses, about 175 miles from home — found at the Farmer’s Market at Hubby’s work. We have also tried Blue Jacket grilling cheese, about 100 miles from home. Both are very good.

Snowville Creamery, about 180 miles from home. HTST, non-homogenized milk. Our new everyday milk.

Mrs. Miller’s Noodles, about 200 miles away in Ohio Amish country. Recently found these at the local farmer’s market at Hubby’s work. We tried the whole grain spelt noodles topped with sauteed onion, garlic, zucchini, globe squash, tomatoes and herbs. Apparently, I didn’t make enough because everyone wanted more. 🙂

What do we eat that isn’t local?

Several fruits including citrus, bananas, berries, kiwi, pineapple, coconut, olives. We can get melons around here and some berries, no problem. But the Ohio River Valley doesn’t have the climate to grow tropical fruits.

Canned beans or tomatoes. Of course making beans from dried is cheaper and fresh is better, but sometimes there just isn’t time.

SunButter. For us, there is no other alternative for peanut butter besides just not having it.

We don’t eat pork often, but I would like to find a local source. Gravel Knoll has it some years, but they weren’t able to this year.

Some cheeses and yogurt. Some things you just can’t get local (like parmigiano-reggiano). I would like someday to try making my own cheese and yogurt. A project for less busy days.

Other grain products incl rice, bread, crackers, flours, oats, other pastas. Given enough time, I believe I could make my own bread and crackers. I’ve been using an organic whole grain pancake mix too. I could probably make my own though (with no sugar). But making everything from scratch and still live life? That would be quite a chore. I don’t think I could do that.

Other condiments such as ketchup and mayonnaise. Say that last one quietly please. I have been staying away when it isn’t allowed for a particular week’s challenge and have tried other options to create that creaminess, such as avocado and hard boiled egg yolk. I’ve heard ground cashews could work too. There really isn’t much that can replace mayo, though. It will likely stay in our diets as an occasional thing.

I’ve recently found a local maple syrup producer. Clough Valley is just on the other side of town, about 30 miles from home. Looking forward to trying their syrup.

Restaurants. Sadly, we don’t eat out for entertainment. It’s mostly for convenience. Chipotle tries to use local foods when they can and I understand City Barbeque near us uses local chicken. But we don’t have the time to go to a restaurant that takes reservations. If you do and would like to find a place that serves local foods, check out Eat Local Cincy.

Those above are just a few local sources that we have tried, but I’m sure there are others. If you know of any, please tell me about it.

Findley Market — a friend has said he will give me a tour of the best local organic producers at this HUGE farmers’ market. Looking forward to it!


Locally Harvested for You

Green Bean Delivery

Week 4 Challenge — No Fast Food

We did ok in week 3. We had 4 servings of meat. We had cheeseburgers and roasted chicken from local farms. It’s the other 2 that weren’t local. We had ribs for a Father’s Day dinner at someone else’s house. The other was a total slip up on my part. One day when trying to figure out what we would have for lunch (our mornings this week turned out to be way busier than I anticipated), I decided on a turkey bacon sandwich. It wasn’t even until the next day that I realized we had had meat that probably wasn’t local. Please forgive me! If it redeems me at all, we went to the Greek festival this weekend. So much good smelling food, so many things with meat. But because we suspected the meat was probably not local, we remained meatless. Next year, we’re going to try some of those other items.

This week, our challenge is to have no fast food or deep fried foods. Hubby was disappointed to find out he couldn’t have tortilla chips with salsa. Fast food is from a restaurant with a drive-thru or where you watch them prepare your food through a glass window, a convenience store, food court, and so on. I’m disappointed that Chipotle is considered fast food. I guess the white rice isn’t best for me, anyhow.

You’ve asked, so…also this week with Hubby’s technical expertise, I plan to post some recipes.

Week 3 Challenge — Local Meat

Barn at Grassland Graze

We did well this week drinking only water, milk, coffee, tea and one serving of juice. The girls chose to have their juice in the form of homemade popsicles. I had one Izze and Hubby had no juice. We also managed to have at least two fruits or vegetables (often more) with every meal with the exception of one breakfast, I believe. As for budget, I have used well over half the monthly budget in only half the month. I usually buy what we will use when I see it on sale. Makes sense, right? This usually means a few weeks of spending more and a week or two of spending less. I have a couple of weeks to balance this budget.

The challenge this next week is to eat only local meat with no more than 3-4 servings. The number of servings won’t be so hard. The part about only local… well, while not impossible, it’s not super easy either. Luckily I have done a little pre-planning, knowing this was coming. Gravel Knolls sells free range chicken and eggs — they say they eat organic clover and bugs. We ordered a chicken to pick up when we get our CSA member share. Grassland Graze sells grass fed beef for pick up. We will have cheeseburgers from there one day this week. Both farms are in Liberty Township, Ohio, approximately 30 miles or less from home (much closer to Hubby’s work).

Speaking of distance, how close is “local”? There are a variety of opinions on how far food can travel and still be “local”. Some say 50, some 100 miles, our federal government says 400 miles. And some say it is more about regions than distance. I think either is acceptable when you consider much of the produce at grocery stores travels 1,000 to thousands of miles to get there.

Why eat local? Localvores (people who eat locally raised food) do so for a variety of reasons. Eating locally supports the local farmer and the local economy. You might even meet the farmer raising your food and ask him/her questions about it. The farther food is transported, the greater the effect (of fuel emissions for example) on the environment. Local is better for the earth and therefore better for our health and future food supply. Local food will be fresher and healthier when you get it than food that travels thousands of miles. Many localvores choose local food over organic because certified organic food from larger corporations is viewed as lower quality/more highly processed. Also, local farmers might use organic and sustainable practices in their farming, though they have not gone through the process of becoming certified by the federal government. I believe it is a lengthy and expensive process.

Do you eat locally raised food?