Friday, February 29, 2008

Just Food's Winter Eat Local Challenge & CSA Day

Northfield's Just Food Co-op is sponsoring its first-ever Winter Eat Local Challenge, March 3-9:
Even during the winter, there is a plethora of delicious ingredients produced locally. You can eat local in the winter too, and there's no better time to try than the Winter Eat Local Challenge! From March 3rd to March 9th Just Food Co-op challenges you to eat 50% of your diet from the 5-state area.

...Visit the store each day of the challenge from 4-6 p.m. and Sunday from 11-2 and meet one of our local farmers tabling in the aisles!
On their website, and available in print form at the store's entrance, is a week's worth of menus for local meals put together by Just Food's Deli Manager, Kirsten Lindquist, and an aisle-by-aisle shopping list for ingredients needed to prepare those meals. The shopping list could also give you great ideas for your own local meals.

Local foods (defined for the purposes of this challenge as grown or produced in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, South Dakota or North Dakota) currently available at the co-op include:
  • dairy products: milk, cream, yogurt, cheese, sour cream, butter
  • eggs
  • grains
  • beans
  • pasta
  • cereal
  • tortillas
  • salsa
  • corn chips
  • beef
  • ham
  • chicken
  • bread
  • jam
  • cereal
  • maple syrup
  • potatoes
  • mushrooms
  • hydroponic lettuce
  • sprouts
  • and a variety of frozen fruits and vegetables, and other frozen foods
Just Food's e-mail news today also announces CSA Day on Saturday, March 8:
From 11-2 on Saturday at Just Food you can meet MORE local farmers -- our local Community Supported Agriculture farmers! Stop in to chat with them about their farming practices, what they grow, and how much a share costs. Then if you’d like you can purchase a share and begin to look forward to the weekly baskets of fresh vegetables picked for you throughout the growing season!
My family has been a member of a couple of different CSAs at various times over the past dozen years or so. Some weeks, especially when corn and tomatoes and potatoes and green beans and basil were in season, we felt we were in heaven. Other weeks, especially when the bag was full of beets and dark greens, we had a bit of a job to use up what we brought home. If you're not used to eating a lot, or a wide variety, of vegetables it can require some dedication to make good use of every weekly delivery, but you could consider sharing a membership with another individual, couple or family if you'd like to try it out. Some CSAs may also offer half-shares. You'll know your produce is the freshest possible and that you're doing something healthy both for yourself and for your local farmer.

Kudos to Just Food, both for offering plenty of produce and other products from local farmers, as well as for encouraging people to shop at the farmers' market and join CSAs.


Rob Hardy said...

If you ever end up with beets that you can't use, bring them over to me. I adore beets!

Mary Schier said...

One of the best things about being in a CSA is picking up the food. We belonged to the CSA that Thorn Crest Farm had many years ago. My girls loved running around the farm, seeing the animals. One day, they were admiring a cute little kitty, which promptly pounced on a nearby mouse, sending the mouse to the great beyond. Good discussion fodder for the drive home. We eventually opted for the farmers' market and my gardening efforts over CSAs, but it was the cabbage, not the beets, that did us in.

Penelope said...

We loved Thorn Crest too. Such a lovely place to visit. The next CSA we tried, some years later, was Valley Creek Farm, where on the occasion of a member potluck I saw my first bluebird -- a magical moment.