I’ve signed up to participate in this years Dark Days Challenge put on by (not so) Urban Hennery. It starts today and runs through March 2010. Essentially, the challenge is to cook one meal each week that is focused on sustainable, organic, local and/or ethical (SOLE) ingredients and blog about it. I find it easy to pull together simple meals with few frills and even less ingredients. This year I’d like to find some new sources for staples that I still get from the supermarket and make a better effort to prep more variety of meals with more ingredients.
My version of local is going to be within 100 miles if I can, up to 200 where I can’t and exempting salt, some spices, coffee beans (not the roasting), chocolate, and cooking oil. I’ll also be including things that are produced and finished locally but the base ingredients are produced elsewhere, if there is not an alternative that is entirely local. A perfect example is coffee; the northern Virginia hills are not known for their quality beans and I’m not even sure if they would even grow if planted here. I have, however, found a number of local roasters that take pride in their work, use care when selecting their sources, pay a fair price for quality ingredients and roast and package the final product nearby.