Thursday, March 18, 2010

Local Tuesday

Local Tuesday Menu – Salad with Poached Egg, Grilled Sweet Potatoes, Honey Oatmeal Bread

Like I mentioned, this was my own personal challenge to see if everything served for dinner could be local. I will say it was a success, with the big BUT I realized there are many staples I use everyday that I just stock up on at the grocery store. The salad greens, scallions, eggs, sweet potatoes, and bread were all locally purchased. To actually get this menu to the table I needed vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper and butter. The following were not necessities, but I also choose to use sugar and Dijon mustard to prepare dinner. I can’t imagine planning a weekly menu without these staples and many others – rice, flour, spices and so on. For me, it’s a process and I’ll continue to buy as much food as possible locally and keep learning about how what we eat effects our environment.

Grilled Sweet Potatoes
Adapted from

2-3 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into ¼ inch slices
3 T olive oil
Salt and pepper

Toss sweet potatoes with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Grill for 8-10 minutes per side. This timing is perfect for your gas or charcoal grill. In the winter I use my George Foreman Grill and it take 10-12 minutes per side.

Why local?

Eating local food has been important to me since I read “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” which is the story of the one year when Barbara Kingsolver and her family ate nothing but locally produced food. They lived on a small farm, allowing them to raise animals and grow vegetables. I remember they had resources for locally milled flour. I am going to have to go back to the book and find out what they did for oil, salt, pepper and so on.
I want a poster of “The Vegetannual”!!! I’ll have to look around for that.

I liked this website’s summary of why buy local.

- When you buy close to home, you get fresher food and support small, local farms.
- Cutting out the middleman, like at a farmers market, can save you money.
- Seasonal, locally grown fruits and veggies are generally of higher quality.
- You will save energy and reduce your carbon footprint by cutting out long-distance hauling.
After reading “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” it was the environmental issues, reducing our carbon footprint, that inspired me to eat as locally as possible. BUT the other three points mentioned above have become important to me also. I have enjoyed meeting and then hearing from the farmer’s every week during CSA season. I absolutely believe that the money I spend for my CSA allows is an excellent value. I’ve added up what the same vegetables would cost me in the grocery store and it is double or even triple than what I spent on my CSA. And you can’t beat the quality. Everything just tastes so GOOD! You can’t beat it.

What is local?
I like having things well defined. I read a bunch of websites and the statement I saw over and over that made sense to me was “within a days drive”. So as long as the farmer’s market, CSA drop off point, etc. is within a days drive from the producer it is considered local.
This Wikipedia article does a good job of outlining the debate about what defines local.

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