Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Dark Days Eat Local Challenge 2008-09

It's time for the start of the Second Dark Days Eat Local Challenge. It was this activity that got me started with both local eating efforts and with blogging a year ago. Thank you, Laura at Not-so Urban Hennery, for this opportunity.

This year the challenge will run from November 15 to March 15.

The “Rules”:

  1. Cook one meal a week featuring at least 90% local ingredients
  2. You define local - the standard definitions range from 100, to 150 to 200 miles
  3. Ingredients can be things you grew and preserved yourself, sourced from local farms and markets, or purchased at the store
  4. Write about the meals you cook, your challenges finding ingredients, why you’re eating local or whatever else strikes your fancy for each recap. Photos are optional.
  5. Include friends and family in your sourcing and eating as possible
In general, we have several meals a week that are mainly local - especially with leftovers! I am going to keep better track of the distance to see what we can maintain. It seemed to me last year, in the winter, that most things were either within the 100 mile radius or they came from northern Washington or California. I don't remember much coming from in between. But, that will be something worth tracking a little more.

We will have a small advantage over last year in that I was able to preserve some things this summer - mostly in the freezer: tomato sauce, green beans, jams, peppers. Plus, we have most of the 1/8 share of local, grass fed beef from Kookoolan farms. We're lucky to have two farmer's markets that operate year-round to give us some locally grown fruits and vegetables. It will still be quite a challenge - especially about February and March. But, I learned a lot last year, so I won't be quite the deer in the headlights this year.

I am particularly fond of rule #5 this year - including family and friends in our sourcing and eating. Dinner with friends is one of our main social activities. And many of our friends share our interest in local eating.

Here's a short recap of our local eating so far:
Nov. 15 spent most of the day flying from Detroit to Portland, we stopped at Roots Brewing near our house for a quick bite on the way home (no food on the planes, of course) and enjoyed a very locally made beer - i.e. brewed six blocks from our house

Nov. 16 a bad day all around (see previous post) so we skipped lunch and had quick and easy from New Seasons for dinner, paid no attention to its origins

Nov. 17 My Birthday!!! implemented rule #5, had 10 friends for dinner, wild caught salmon grilled on a cedar plank, a DELICIOUS ratatouille with peppers and tomatoes from our garden, other peppers and egglant from Oregon and Washington, cherry pie with filling from the Apple Valley Country Store, champagne from California (see photos below)

Grady's beautiful cherry pie for my birthday "cake"

Lively discussions - politics, families, politics, photography, politics....

Grady serving the salmon

Just a little bit of handwashing - 12 champagne, 12 wine, 12 water
And a good time had by all, especially the birthday "girl".


Anonymous said...

Haooy belated birthday Joan. I know it has been a challenging couple of weeks. I hope you have a great year. Love, Traci and the gang (aka Kool)

ckw said...

looks Fabulous!