Friday, October 19, 2007

Dark Days Eat Local Challenge

I was disappointed when I missed out on One Local Summer, so when this challenge came up, I jumped on it rather than hemming and hawing like I did last time 'round. This one looks like even more fun, largely because I'm looking forward to the added challenge of eating locally through the winter.

We run a very small CSA (though I prefer to think of it as exclusive)—one of the reasons I hemmed and hawed, feeling that our focus on zero mile meals might seem unfair or off skew somehow. This was our first year as a CSA, so we're still learning a lot. Our seasonal shares just finished this week, but we have two annual members whose share continues through the end of the year. So we'll be supporting three families through these dark days with local produce. Having never done this before, I'm hopeful, excited, and a bit apprehensive because I don't have experience with a winter garden. But there's a first time for everything, and I'm a jump-in-with -two-feet kinda gal.

Since the rules are that each participant gets to set his/her own rules, mine are few and simple: (Gee, Jenny, I'm just full of rules these days, huh? ;)

  1. We'll be cooking at least two zero mile meals per week, and the rest will have a 100 mile radius.
  2. Exemptions are oils, spices, and flour/rice/grains, which we've yet to find a viable local source. When possible, we'll go regional, trying to confine our purchases to our own country and coast.
  3. Everything will be made from scratch, turning it into a version of local. I figure our zero mile and scratch emphasis kinda balance out the whole grain thing.

We've been preserving quite a bit this year, so we have a fair amount of meat, produce, jam, sauce, etc. to draw upon over the coming months. We grow much of our own food, with the exception of beef, which we buy from a farm less than 15 miles down the road. We've butchered our own chicken, turkey, duck, and goat, and have our pigs processed at a local abattoir, but then cure and season all our own cuts. After two years living on the farm, we've become steeped in local and seasonal eating, but there's still room for improvement and challenges like these help point to the areas that need work and provide motivation.

Thanks, Laura, for putting this together!

No comments: