I am honored and excited to have joined the Eat Local Challenge, a blog that will bring together information from a diverse group of U.S. consumers dedicated to supporting those who produce food that doesn't travel thousands of miles before it ends up on your plate. My first post for this new site is entitled Full Circle, Almost. So far, twenty-six other Locavores have signed on to become authors for the Eat Local Challenge blog, and it looks like hundreds have pledged to eat local for the month of May! Others have chosen to take the challenge in another month.
The posts about my own eat local challenge will be archived here, so that anyone who is interested can follow my progress. The overall challenge is to eat food produced within 100 miles of your home, but each person sets his or her own personal goals and exemptions. I'll keep you updated with the information I find about sustainably and humanely raised food produced within 100 miles of Greensboro. If any of you decide to join the challenge, please leave a comment!
It will be great fun and very enlightening to see how others find foods within their 100-mile foodsheds during a time of year when many places are just beginning to get fresh foods to the markets. Some traditionally lush harvests in California will be delayed due to unusually heavy rains. Here in the South, we've had drought. The Northeast is just now thawing out!
We are lucky to be able to find so many local foods in our markets here in the Piedmont Triad. Now we need to support our farmers and encourage the next generation of young farmers to continue the tradition by making good choices with our food dollars.
Now, here are my personal Eat Local Challenge goals and exemptions:
Goal: To eat food produced within 100 miles as much as possible, then extend the range to food raised, produced, or caught in North Carolina, South Carolina, or Virginia.
Exemptions: salt, pepper, spices, tamari, flour*, pasta*, rice, olive oil, lemon juice, apple cider and balsamic vinegars, tahini, sugar, other baking necessities, Parmesano-Reggiano, coffee, tea.
Challenge: I'm used to eating out for lunch in the neighborhood, and I don't think that anyone serves local food. My addiction to Pepsi One, which I'll try to kick in May. My new craving for olives. I'll miss salmon and bacon. Local regulations will not allow pork producers to cure meat without nitrates.
Help needed in finding: Grains of all kinds, pasta. If I can find local sources for flour, pasta, and Carolina grown rice, I'll take them off the exemption list in an update.
Tips offered: The Greensboro Farmers' Curb Market sells locally grown chicken, beef, pork, dried beans, mushrooms, milk, butter, goat cheese, and eggs, in addition to seasonal fruits and vegetables. Chicken will be available from Back Woods Family Farm again in May. The corn for the grits and cornmeal from the Old Mill at Guilford is grown in Yanceyville. Donna sells their products at the Curb Market. The Piedmont Triad Farmers Market also sells sustainably raised lamb, and ostrich. Deep Roots Market carries some local products, including some fruits and vegetables, beef and dairy products.
I'll buy my fair-trade organic coffee from Tate Street Coffee House, which is a short walk away, and sorry, but I have to have sugar in my coffee.
I'll keep a pitcher of iced tea in the refrigerator to try to kick my diet soda habit. I can't go without caffeine - my migraines are enough of a problem in the spring. The problem here will be my husband drinking it all. He loves sweet tea. I'll flavor it with mint from my garden.
I'll buy my bread from Simple Kneads, a wonderful organic bakery in downtown Greensboro, or from nearby Spring Garden Bakery, or pita from Dough Re Mi at the Greensboro Farmers' Curb Market. Or bake it.
I am mulling over making my own pasta for the first time. After all, I have to justify buying this noodle-cutter at the Liberty Antiques Festival yesterday! Note that I bought a "new" baking pan that begs for lasagne as well. I think I found a source for semolina flour from Virginia. I'll post more if I decide to do it - it looks like the fates have decreed this. Now let's see if I have the time and energy.
I plan to eat a lot of salad, which is not really one of my favorite foods. The way I have decided to make this fun and challenging is that I will make my own salad dressings and marinades. I've been addicted to Annie's dressings for years, but there's no reason I couldn't make my own from scratch. I've added a lot of the base ingredients for salad dressings and marinades to the exemption list, to which I plan to add herbs from my garden and other ingredients that I find at the farmers' market.