Sunday, May 14, 2006

Going Local: Dairy Dilemma

Note: This post is part of an ongoing report on my efforts to eat locally for the month of May. You can read about my goals, exceptions and guidelines here.

As a Wisconsin girl, I’m a fan of any and all dairy products. Of course, if I still lived in Wisconsin, getting good local dairy would be easy, while in Los Angeles, it’s proved a bit of challenge. Sure, “local” dairies like Altadena aren’t hard to find—but in a huge city like LA, local doesn’t automatically mean sustainable (Altadena’s basically a factory farm these days).

So, to answer the question left in the comments by Petra last week—where can you get local dairy products in LA? Well, an exploration of Whole Foods turned up local milk from Broguiere’s dairy, based in Montebello, CA since 1920. For yogurt, I’ve had to expand my foodshed to Northern California—I’ve been eating and baking with plain yogurt from Straus Family Creamery of Marin County—a small family dairy committed to sustainable agriculture.

The best discovery so far, though, has been Cardone’s Mozzarella. Richard Cardone makes fresh ricotta, mozzarella and boccocini right here in my neighborhood and sells it at both the Silver Lake and Atwater Village Farmers' markets every weekend. It’s fabulous stuff, especially the ricotta. In fact, we like it so much it found its way into many a dish this past week—sprinkled on our ratattoulle, mixed in our potato-asparagus hash, and stuffed inside our mint and pea ravioli. The boccocini, on the other hand, don’t mix with anything other than a plate of olive oil, salt and pepper and then head into our mouths.

Cardone's ricotta on ratattoulle.

I’m still looking for more local dairy options—I’m about to run out of the butter I had in the fridge before the Eat Local Challenge began. If anyone has any recommendations, please let me know in the commetns.

8 comments:

marielle said...

I noticed that Bristol Farms carries Straus Family Creamery butter - but that presents the whole "is northern California considered local" dilemma. Looking forward to hearing if you discover a truly local source!

Naama said...

Worst comes to worst, you can use whatever local and organic cream you can find (one of the milk or yogurt folks must have cream, no?) and make your own butter - either stick it in a Kitchenaid (w/paddle) for 10 minutes or so, or pour it into a jar and start shaking, a'la kindergarden.

petra said...

Hi Erin,
This is a good topic...First is Mr. Cardone the man that was profiled in the LA Times food section a couple of weeks ago or am I confusing him with Buffala Mozzarela man...either way I will have to try his wares{How is the Atwater FM?}
Anyways about milk - have you tried the Raw Milk people that I have seen at the Hollywood FM? I wonder if they also do butter?
Have a great day. Petra

Erin S. said...

marielle-thanks for the tip.

naama--hmmm...good idea. I am still hoping to make some homemade yogurt or ricotta before the month is up, so i'll add this to the list.

petra--I checked the article, it talks about someone else (Vito Girardi). The raw milk guy at the Hollywood market does sell butter--he's from Fresno. I have tried the milk but not the butter...

Erin S. said...

oh--one more thing--you asked about Atwater market--it's very small, but its nice and relaxed (sometimes the crowds of the Hollywood market drive me crazy!). Atwater definitely has the basics.

Rorie said...

Hooray for all things dairy! And I applaud your "eating local challenge" success.

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It won't have effect in actual fact, that's what I suppose.

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Well, I do not actually imagine it is likely to have success.