Monday, August 31, 2009

Eating Local - what's it all about?

I'm resurrecting the blog to, I hope, chronicle the Eat Local Challenge I am planning for the month of October.

Basically what this means is that, with very few exceptions, I make a commitment to eat only food whose origins are in a 250 radius of Manchester, NH, for an entire month. I will blog more about why I am doing this as I go along, for sure.

The first I heard about this challenge was in late September of last year, when I stumbled across this blog. As it was much too late to embark on such an undertaking with only 3 days to prepare, I follwed this brave blogger through her Eat Local adventure. She has 2 little kids and a husband as well. I only have to feed me!

Anyway, inspired to at least start looking around and paying attention to where the food I eat comes from, and looking for local alternatives, I decided to participate in October 2009. OK, but want to hear something funny? I thought the Eat Local Challenge was some big national event that people from all over the country were doing! Um...I was wrong. In fact, a visit to their website shows that it hasn't been updated since March 2009. Where are you local eaters?

I have to say I have done pretty well with finding local sources of some of my food. Note the "some" part. I gotta lotta work to do in September folks if I am going to pull this off!! Now, I do have a rather extensive file I have been compiling of sources of things like flour and oats that I need to sit with and place orders for anything I might need shipped to me by 9/15. I'd like to not do that though, but realistically, I might have to. I will post a blog entry which I will update as I find more, of all the local products/resources I have found so far. And if anyone out there can add to this list, PLEASE leave a comment or email me!!

OK, true story. Tonight I decided to get on Google Maps and find my 250 mile radius. I figured I would mainly be making my purchases from NH and ME, which was good because everyone knows most of our potato crop comes from northern Maine, right? Right. And guess how far away Houlton, ME is? over 300 miles. Seriously Maine people, that is one big ass state you have there. And, somewhere in the back of my mind I knew that. I was reminded of a few 8+ hour trips from Boston to Presque Isle chain smoking in my dads old Dodge Dart - but that is another story! So, first lesson learned tonight is that my 250 mile radious extends, if you can believe this, all the way to NYC!! (248 mi, I kid you not). However, I am drawing the line at the Connecticut border. Rhode Island and Massachusetts also make the cut. That said, I am going to try and keep it within a 100 mi radius if at all possible. My local Farmer's Market is going to be very profitable in the next 6 weeks!

So, I have alot to do, and alot to write about in the next 30 days prior to starting my challenge. If you want to do it too, let me know. Oh, and on top of this, I have also been tracking what I eat in an attempt to eat healthier (it's working, I've lost 7.5 lbs) and I'm exercising ALOT more and feeling really great!

Over dinner last night, my daughter was asking me about how my prepping for this challenge was going. I said good, but that I was stressing a little bit over getting enough protein, as local sources were kinda pricy, so I would have to budget carefully. I mentioned a few other things, and this horrified look crossed her face and she said, "Mom, you're not going to starve, are you?" I assured her that no, I would not starve. I seriously think I could barely eat for a month and live off the fat of this here land. Although with my luck, my body would manage to store fat anyway! (If there is one thing I have learned in the last 4 weeks it's that my body really WILL drop the pounds if I eat more).

I will leave you with this thought...over the weekend, a friend mentioned that movie, Food, Inc (which I am going to see this week) and asked "why would you want to know where your food comes from?" My answer - why wouldn't you?


Mel said...

For the moment, work on scoping out farm stands in your area. Today I visited one not far from Kit's, which means less than 15 min. drive for me. They'll be in operation until frost, so I plan on making it work as often as possible.

Other than that, I source my milk and butter from in-state. Kate's Homemade Butter comes from just up the coast a bit from us, and Oakhurst is a Maine dairy cooperative (to which my hospital manager's dairy belongs). There are also some other local dairies that sell direct, but they're a little more pricey and less convenient to get.

The resources are there. You just need to learn where they are.

Anonymous said...

Check out a book called The Conscious Cook by Giselle Wilkinson. It's an Australian book, but it's all about eating local in season foods. It makes so much sense. And better than eating tasteless strawberries out of season!