Saturday, April 29, 2006

Going Local

locally grown artichokes at the Santa Monica Farmer's Market

For the month of May I’ll be living like there’s no jumbo jet, cargo ship or semi-truck available to deliver grapes from Chile or steak from Nebraska. Joining the Eat Local Challenge is a chance to focus on reducing my “ecological footprint” and supporting small, local farms.

To me, eating locally conjures up images of my Grandpa Johnny—a lifelong resident of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, who fished Lake Superior nearly every day of his life, and smoked his own trout in his backyard. It reminds me of the Wisconsin farm of one of my best friends, where the entire extended family comes together once a year to butcher their cows. I think of my Grandma Sally’s homemade strawberry jam, and her knowledge of nearly every good wild berry patch within a 25 mile radius of her house. I remember last summer, sitting on my parents porch with my dad, scraping kernals off ear after ear of sweet corn, to be frozen for a treat come December.

So, with an eye to my midwestern heritage, I’ll do my best this month. One thing I'm having trouble sourcing--locally-made yogurt, a breakfast staple in our household. Any Angelenos have suggestions?

Here are my answers to questions for participants:

1. What's your definition of local for this challenge?
For fruits, vegetables, eggs, dairy, and wine, within 100 miles of Los Angeles, CA. For meat and fish, within California.
2. What exemptions will you claim?
Coffee is non-negotiable, but we do get our beans from a local, environmentally-minded roaster, Groundwork. Anything already in my pantry (spices, flour, sugar, rice, etc) is fair game, and if I need more basic baking goods to make bread, I can buy it. Also, my trip to MA at the end of the month doesn’t count.
3. What is your personal goal for the month?
Other than the aforementioned out-of-town sojourn, I aspire to make 75% of my meals homemade and local this month. My other primary goal for the month is to focus on making as many “basic” foods as possible myself—bread, pasta, granola, etc. I want to set aside time on the weekends to bake and cook, freezing and storing as I go.


Jane said...

Hi Erin, I can't help with locally produced yogurt, but was wondering if you had considered making it yourself? There are some great recipes that can be made either with a yogurt maker or without.

This is a short article I found with a recipe that sounds worth trying.

Jill said...

That's so cool! I'm looking forward to reading & hearing more about it.

Ivonne said...

Fantastic, Erin!

I'll be participating as well. I look forward to the month ahead!