My Eat Local Challenge really is a challenge especially when travelling. I will tell you about that in a bit, but first I need to update you on the basics. Like I thought, fruit is a challenge. A huge challenge for our family. We eat a ton of fruit and even only about 10 days in we have found that we aren’t willing to give it up. What we have done is to allow fruit with the caveat that it must be purchased from a locally owned grocery store and be from the USA if possible. Even better if it is organic, but that isn’t mandatory. Since the main focus of this challenge is to support local businesses buying the fruit from a local producer (not possible at this point or this year for most fruits) or from a local grocer.
What has worked for us? Vegetables, milk, eggs, and meat. My CSA share is huge for this. Right now the list of what I pick up each week: kale, kohlrabi, cucumber, tomato, onion, garlic, lettuce, zucchini, milk, eggs, cabbage, radish, celeriac, carrot, and garlic scapes. I get this each week for a cost of about $100/month and is certified organic. I can’t buy that much conventional food at a big box store for that price.
The meat I pick up from my local farmers market. I get my chicken from Beehaven Farm Roadside Market and my pork is already in my freezer. If we need beef I can either get beef from my CSA or I can get it from another vendor at the farmers market.
I do have to say thank goodness for our pantry. This would be a lot more difficult if I didn’t keep a well stocked pantry. Pasta would be next to impossible, delicious, but tough for the time it takes to make. My husband made a really yummy lemon basil pasta the other night. Delicious but it did take a while to make. That isn’t a big deal on nights when he hasn’t been at work all day, but to get home after a day of work and crank out pasta isn’t really the way he wants to wind down.
I am lucky too in the fact that my husband cooks to wind down from work or the day. This means that for the most part this challenge isn’t difficult for me. I’ve just been getting to eat delicious food. I do scope out the local foods, but I don’t do much of the cooking.
Exciting news! I have found local citrus. Lemons, oranges, and figs (I know, not citrus but he grows them too). We have a gentleman who has designed a greenhouse system using geothermal heat and he grows citrus in Western Nebraska. His system is called Greenhouse in the Snow. It is a pretty neat system that enables one to grow plants on our high plains that would never survive otherwise.
Last, but not least. Doing this while travelling: Ugh. It is tough. My schedule did not allow me to go to the farmers’ market while in my conference town. I did find a local coffee shop. Finally. I also found a small grocery store near my hotel that stocks several local products. I ran into the issue of not having a refrigerator or microwave in my room. Apparently when one stays in a fancy place they expect you to eat out. I have done a ton of eating out over the last several days. At least most of the places are not chains and are unique to this town.
Would it be possible to do it while travelling? Yes, if one has a bit more time in an area to research local food and businesses. It is difficult when one doesn’t know the area or isn’t spending much time in an area.
I will try to update you all again next week.