Friday, August 15, 2008

Eat Local Challenge, Day 1

The third annual, month-long, Just Food Co-op Eat Local Challenge got underway today. It's a fun way to be deliberate about supporting local food producers ("local" defined quite broadly to include anywhere in our five-state area) and enjoying the benefits, since these farmers can often grow varieties known more for their delicious qualities than for their ability to survive being trucked across the country, and they can pick and sell them when they are ripe and at their peak of flavor.

Knowing of my interest in eating more locally, Joey of the Just Food marketing staff invited me several weeks ago to submit an article on the subject for the Eat Local Challenge issue of their bimonthly newsletter, The ComPost. I was surprised and honored to discover that it ended up as the front page article. Longtime readers of Penelopedia will probably recognize some sections, reworked from previous blog posts.

Anyway, on this kick-off day of the Challenge I enjoyed:
Breakfast: a slice of my favorite toasted locally-baked "Just Bread" from the coop, topped with some Wisconsin cheddar cheese and slices of the first large tomato I've picked from my garden. Normally I would have had peanut butter rather than cheese and tomatoes for breakfast, but this was a nod to Day 1 of the Challenge.
Lunch: a small salad made with garden cucumbers and cherry tomatoes plus some California carrots. Also a slice of Papa Murphy's pizza left over from a couple of nights ago. I can't tell you anything about how local Papa Murphy's ingredients are, except that it's reasonably likely that at least the cheese is relatively local. Also, if it's already in my fridge, it counts as local enough!
Dinner: a Thousand Hills Cattle Co. hamburger on a bakery bun with fresh, utterly beautiful and delicious sweet corn from the Grisim's stand at 7th and Water, and a couple of garden cherry tomatoes. Plus some Kemps ice cream, which is probably sufficiently local (see earlier posts I've written about most regional brands of dairy products using milk from Wisconsin or Minnesota).

Whether or not you feel moved to participate in a formal or informal Eat Local Challenge, this is a wonderful time of year to patronize local produce stands, the farmers' market, and the co-op. Enjoy the flavors of the season.

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