Monday, October 27, 2008

Local diet update - October 27, 2008

I can hardly believe that it was just one year ago that I decided to overhaul my diet and start eating locally. It was a scary plunge because I committed myself to 100% local on just about everything but fruit and dairy (those 2 went local last Spring). Going completely local meant that my diet was dependent not on a steady supply of reliable grocery store fare, but rather on local farmers, the weather, and the season. Was it possible?

Indeed it was. And not only was it possible, it turns out it was better. Better for me (health, flavor, and new relationships), better for the planet (mostly organic and far less food miles), and better for my community (the support of local farmers). When I ended the experiment, to be honest, not much changed. Though I'm not as strict, and bananas have once again found their way into my kitchen, eating local is still better. You can't come close to matching the flavors of a local market with those in the grocery store. The quality, the freshness, the care is just not there. And the friends I've made in the process couldn't be bought in a chain store. They are the product of a commitment to local foods and weekend after weekend of Saturday morning farmers markets - telling stories, secrets of the harvest, and sharing our lives with each other.

Even now at the end of October, our local farmers market is booming. Ten vendors lined the Health Department parking lot this weekend (and one was a new guy)! And it wasn't just veggie heaven. This week's harvest produced spinach, mustard greens, turnip greens, red potatoes, sweet potatoes, yellow onions, purple onions, okra, zucchini, yellow squash, pattypan squash, eggplant, peppers, green beans, herbs, canned veggies, jellies and jams, eggs, honey, lemons (the new guy - he promised to be back), locally roasted coffee, canned pickles, homemade breads and sweets, plants, salsa, dried apples, dried cranberries... and I'm probably forgetting a few things. It's just not possible to go hungry with all these local goodies picked fresh and just begging to be enjoyed.

Personally (see photo up top), I picked up some greens (for sammies), a purple onion (also for sammies), yellow onions (for soup), and 2 pounds of green beans (cause I just can't get enough of them). But that's far from the sum of what we'll be eating this week. Just after I arrived home, my friend Tammy came over (we were going to meet at the market, but I was running just a little bit later than normal - Oops. Sorry, Tammy) with some beauties from her garden and also from a local CSA. Check this out... Tammy brought over green beans, purple hull peas, baby lettuce, eggplant, spinach, herbs, zucchini, cucumbers, green peppers, and red peppers. Needless to say, I made a HUGE pot of soup this weekend (6 quarts were pressure canned, 9 pints went into the fridge for meals for the next week plus). The cucumber and green peppers I saved for snacking, the lettuce I saved for sandwiches, and the green beans will be steamed to accompany every meal we eat (well, maybe not breakfast. maybe). 

But the goodies don't stop there. We picked up a gallon of local milk from the dairy; we still have about 1/2 dozen local eggs; I purchased more almonds, rice, and mushrooms (all local) from the grocery; and last, but certainly not least (drumroll please), Tammy also brought over this beauty - raw cheddar cheese that she had shipped in from Ohio Amish Country (if you're interested, here's their website). Ok. I suppose Ohio isn't exactly local, but SCORE! I took a nibble when we first opened it and fell in love so I'll have to proceed carefully. This stuff is awesome!

Between all these goodies, and a steady supply of my homemade 100% whole wheat bread, nobody will be going hungry in my house! You know, I still can't believe it was only a year ago that I started this journey. I did it for the Earth, but in the end, it became an amazing adventure into what good food is supposed to taste like, into a whole new group of wonderful friends, and into a tomorrow worth looking forward to. Have a great week everyone, and as always...

Happy (and mindful) eating!


ttammylynn said...

Those lemons were crazy big. One lemon could make a pitcher of lemonade...I bought three small ones. Even with everything I picked at Vickys, cucumbers, malabar spinach, peppers, squash, eggplant, and green beans; I picked up a lot of stuff at Market, too. I bought two things of cardamom cinnamon sweet rolls, dried apples, dried cranberries, potatoes, an onion, a dozen eggs, and four jars of salsa(the salsa that is less heat, more taste).
Oh and even though several ingredients weren't local, I made two bourbon chocolate pecan pies(local pecans and eggs) and four cheesecakes (local eggs), one topped with Ande's mints baking chips before baking, two plain and one topped with sliced kiwis and strawberries and some melted Heather's peach jam as glaze. I had to bring dessert because we met with my sister's future in-laws to discuss the wedding (Mar 28th) last night. They were very nice, we talked for several hours. I didn't even eat any dessert, but I love making lavish desserts, crazy as that sounds. It is like I don't have to consume to enjoy the art of cooking.

Seraphim said...

"I did it for the Earth, but in the end, it became an amazing adventure into what good food is supposed to taste like, into a whole new group of wonderful friends, and into a tomorrow worth looking forward to."

Now that is a quote worth remembering - very well said :)

Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

The time goes by so fast, but at the same time it can feel like years have passed with all that is learned. I'm proud and impressed by what you have done, and I am trying to follow in your and many others' footsteps. (This makes me sad because there are only 2 weeks of the farmer's market left - then I have to trek to the local grocer and hope they have some produce!).

I've been on a soup kick lately! I am really enjoying making my own soup. Next week I think Brett and I are going to try Minestrone. Mmmmmmmmm.

Heather @ SGF said...

ttammylynn - you're right. Those lemons were huge! The guy was really nice though and said he'd be back with more in a couple weeks.

I've never bought the cinnamon rolls at the market, but I eye them every week. Do they taste as good as they look? Wow! You really did pick up a bunch of stuff. I bet you've family is pleased with all that :)

Hope you had a wonderful anniversary weekend!

seraphim - Thanks!

jennifer - only 2 weeks left? Yikes! Do you do much canning? I would be canning like mad at that point. Your soup would be a perfect thing to can. Good luck with the minestrone. It sounds delish!