Sunday, May 24, 2015

One Local Summer-Week 1 Recap

A number of years ago I tried playing along with an idea hosted by the blog Farm To Philly to eat at least one meal a week totally (with exceptions for stuff like salt, pepper, sugar and oil) from food grow or raised locally. Over the years there were several different definitions of local and several levels of exceptions made, some of which I've chronicled here, some that I did on my own. Unfortunately, as the scales of balance tipped in the wrong direction, cooking anything, not to mention cooking healthy, sustainably sourced, locally grown meals fell off. And I've been worse off for it.

But no more. I'm back with a CSA subscription to a new local farm just 24 miles down the road, a farmers market that host only vendor-produced foods grown within 125 miles, and a commitment to make this my summer to back on track. 

One of the reasons I let go of this before was all the rules of what and how far and the guilt of including something "not approved". It made what should have been an educational, inspirational journey into a comparison of who was "really" being local and who could afford to source more expensive meats and exotic veggies to eat well. In an effort to avoiding all of that I'm playing by my own rules this year and celebrating even the little steps as success. 

My rules will be:
Cook at least 3 local meals a week
A local meal is a meal that contains at least half local foods and no exotic items that could not reasonably be obtained  locally. The point is to eat things in season, not how creative can I get at stretching the rules but I will note the non local items. I will also feature things like pickles where the primary ingredient that is ultimately eaten is local even if the liquid and spices are not. 
Local is anything grown or raised within 150 miles. 
I will endeavor to find sustainable, environmentally friendly, economically feasible alternatives where possible but will hold no guilt if I use store bought items or a cheaper product if it results in the ability to provide a healthy, home cooked meal to my family. 
I will source and meal plan from my share first and do my best to fully utilize all the yummy stuff.

I hope to see a gradual transition from partially local to mostly local as I use up non-local ingredients and replace them with local sources. Things like butter, flour, herbs should be easy but I wont just toss usable food to buy new local versions, I'll use up the old and replace with the good. Things like oil, salt and some sugars probably wont be replaced at all but either reduced as I make healthier meals or simply kept as my exlusions.

So for the first week, here is my recap:

Thursday evening I picked up my share and started meal planning but didn't get any cooking done as it was too late. I also still had a few few things left from my last farmers market trip like grape tomatoes, pasta, and carrots.

Friday I cooked a batch of kale (share) chips using a non-local drizzle of oil and dash of salt and pepper following this recipe at

Then I took half the asparagus from the share and made a jar of refrigerator pickles using this recipe My BF, the pickle expert in the household found them quite good. 

For the main meal I used all the curly kale (share), a pint of grape tomatoes from Ticonderoga (fm), some fresh linguine noodles from Caravan Pasta (fm), and non local garlic, oil, and feta to make a delicious one pot pasta dinner. We enjoyed the incredibly fresh juicy strawberries plain for dessert.

Saturday I had previously prepared store bought chicken to use up so for local content I made a quick salad out of our lettuce (share) and some shredded carrots (fm) and braised some pok choy (share) in non-local soy sauce to go with the lemon chicken and rice.

Sunday I made a mostly local fritatta from the last of our Lancaster Farm Fresh eggs (share). This version had some non-local feta and paremsean cheese and some commercial lunch meat ham slices but also used up the leftover pok choy (share) and some sauted asparagus (share).

The rest of the week was filled with veggies too but none met my feature conditions. Chard warped salmon with sautéed asparagus, chineese cabbage and carrots in an Asian chopped salad, and kale and carrots in soup used up every last bit of the items in the week 1 share. 

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