Getting (the Good) Fat
When Liz and I decided to go local for a week, I had no choice but to run to something that I normally run away from. FAT. This was especially true when it came to my dairy products. I have never in my life bought 2% milk, let alone whole milk, so you can imagine my concerns as I searched the refrigerated section at Traders Point Creamery for something on the lighter side.
Embarrassed, I decided to just ask the friendly person working, and she explained that, much like raw milk, when you take the fat out of the milk, you are also removing a lot of the vitamins and omega-3s. She also promised that it wouldn’t taste “heavy” like the whole milk that a lot of big name factory farms produce.
I was surprised when I tasted it and had to agree. So next time, when I am tempted to shy away from something that is a little fattier than an alternative, I am going to try to make sure that when they cut the fat, that other good things weren’t eliminated as well. And as with any food, whether it has good fats (i.e. olive oil, nuts, avocados) or no fat at all, moderation is key.
Something Old, Something New
Since my husband was out of town last week, he was eager to try some of the meals he missed. (I think he just couldn’t believe that I actually made them… and considering I burnt myself and set off the smoke alarm while making tonight’s meal, I don’t blame him.) So for our Weekly Going Local Meal last night, we made good old Seasonal Potato Salad. The great thing about that recipe is that you can throw in whatever veggies you like – broccoli, sweet potato, zucchini, whatever! I picked up some of our ingredients (and took the above photo) at the Abundant Life Farmers Market, which takes place on Thursdays — making it a great mid-week stop.
We also made a new appetizer that I think would be great if you are hosting a party. It was very simple, but looked fancy, and tasted delicious. Basically, I just peeled and sliced a cucumber, and then topped the slices with a small slice of goat cheese, and a sun-dried tomato. If you have any basil with the little leaves, you could add that into it as well.
Not Just A Decoration
photo by Renée at Almost Foodies
I will admit that the only thing about a pumpkin that I have ever attempted to cook is the seeds. So looking for a new experiment in the kitchen, I picked up one at Indian Ladder Farms last weekend and thought it would be perfect for this week’s “going local” dish. In addition to the pumpkin, all of the ingredients used were grown locally except the four spices.
Black Bean, Corn and Pumpkin Stew
adapted from a Food Network recipe by Michele Urvater
1/4 cup olive oil
1 red pepper, seeded and cut into 1/4 inch dice
1 tsp. cumin seeds
2 cloves of minced garlic
1 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. paprika
2 c fresh corn cut from the cob
2 c winter squash like pumpkin* or acorn, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch dice
2 c fresh chopped tomatoes
2 c chicken broth
1 + 1/2 c black beans
salt & pepper
jalapeno pepper (optional garnish)
1/4 c toasted sunflower or pumpkin seeds (optional garnish)
Heat olive oil until hot in a big pot. Add red pepper and saute for 5 min. or until somewhat tender. Add cumin and saute briefly. Add garlic, oregano, cinnamon, cloves and paprika and saute a few seconds. Add corn, winter squash, tomatoes, the broth and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until squash is almost tender. Add beans, cover and simmer another 5 to 10 minutes or until squash is completely tender. Season with salt and pepper and adjust seasons. Garnish with jalapeno pepper and toasted sunflower seeds.
*When preparing the pumpkin make sure to save the seeds to make a healthy snack for later!
Coffee on a Mission
You might not expect to see a coffee booth at the Farmers Market, but at the one that I do my shopping at, we have one for Mission Coffee. I picked some up last week, when we had finished our going local challenge.
Mission Coffee is shade-grown, hand-picked, porch-dried and roasted in Panama. The proceeds of the coffee support the medical, dental, educational, and sustenance needs of the Guaymi, an indigenous people who tend to the coffee.
In the world of coffee, you ideally want to look for a variety that is organic, fair trade, and shade grown. This will definitely be more expensive than your average Folgers, but you can rest assured that you are making a much better decision for the environment and the workers who are harvesting that coffee for you.
Interested in learning more? Check out TreeHuggers How to Green Your Coffee, or Green LA Girl’s 6-Step Program for the Caffeine Addicted. Further your knowledge and browse some brands at The Green Guide.
Water, But Better
Now that I am starting to incorporate a few of my faves back into my diet after our going local week, Zico Coconut Water is sure to be included. Since it’s packed with electrolytes and a great source of potassium with no added sugar, it makes an awesome natural sports drink. It’s simple, just 100% pure coconut water.
Sticker Shock: Apples From Chile
Now that our week of Going Local is over, I went to the grocery to purchase some non-local items that I missed in my diet, including my beloved cereal, natural peanut-butter, walnuts and veggie-burgers. While I was there, I browsed the produce section, and out of curiosity, picked up some organic apples to see where they were from. I was SHOCKED to see that they were imported from Chile. CHILE!
I realize that there are some items that you can’t buy locally, but since my neighbors have an apple tree growing in their yard, I know that I don’t need to be buying mine from Chile. (The ones shown here are from the Farmers Market.) Because of this I am going to be more conscious of where ALL my non-local foods come from, and try to find grocery stores that import their foods from neighboring states, rather than neighboring continents.
Going Local: Looking Back … and Ahead
Our week of going local has come to an end. However, we are not going to rush out to the grocery store to stock up on foreign foods.
Instead, we are going to continue to buy local foods and incorporate them whenever possible. We are also making a committment to eat a fully local meal at least once a week until the end of October.
Our local meals will still be posted in our “Going Local” category, but we will also resume our posts about some of our other topics, including recipes, thoughts on food, environmental issues, product reviews and more.
***Thanks to Renée from Almost Foodies for the above photo.***
Liz’s Wrap Up
The following are some highlights of the costs of some of the foods and vendors I encountered this week. I would say it was comparable to what I normally spend most weeks as I already shop predominately at the co-op and farmer’s market and buy organic and even local products frequently. However, I would say that I purchased more meat and dairy products this week which were some of the more expensive items on the list. Also, while my husband did not participate in our going local challenge, about 50% of his diet this week came did com from the local foods I was eating so I was kind of shopping for two.
$63–Troy Waterfront Market purchasing lots of fruits and veggies, meat, and cheese. Some of the produce bargains I found include a $2 squash from Charlie and 5 big seriously flavorful heirloom tomatoes for $3.50 from Witenagemot Farm. Some of the bigger ticket items included the cheddar cheese for $8.70 ($15 per pound), the Colebrook Wine for $11, and the jar of Saratoga Garlic for $6. The highlight was the huge bunch of edamame for $2.
$45- The Honest Weight Food Co-Op came in handy to pick up a few things unavailable at the market and to restock on some favorites mid-week. The co-op does an awesome job of labeling each item either conventionally or organically grown and whether it is local. Also the staff (made up of mostly volunteers who own shares in the store) was incredibly helpful and knowledgeable about the the 100 mile challenge. The highlight here was 3/4 of a pound of black beans for $1.15!
$ 8 – At Indian Ladder Farms it was very easy to figure out what was local as everything had a little card near it with the farm and it’s location listed. Here I found the whole wheat bread flour which was $5 and bought about $3 worth of freshly picked apples.
While some call it an eat local challenge, I would have to say it has been more of an adventure. Sure, it took a little more planning, and a little more time in the kitchen a few nights, but it has been well worth it as I have experienced new foods, new recipes and new places (like the apple orchards at Indian Ladder Farms pictured above). More importantly though, I have also learned a lot this week. Beyond just a few new skills in the kitchen (like how to cook a squash), I have learned to speak up and ask the important questions about where my food is coming from. And, I have learned to really consider what is in season and to take advantage of the great flavor and nutritional quality that the local foods have to offer.
Rhaya’s Wrap Up
I learned so much this week. Not only about local foods, but also about my cooking skills (or lack there of). I used the oven more times this past week than I have in the past year, and while I am not going to start baking homemade pie, I am going to make an attempt to use my oven more often — especially as the temperatures get cooler and we still have all these local squash and other root vegetables available. I am also going to make some big batches of soup, and freeze them, so I can still eat locally when there is snow on the ground.
Here is a run-down of my costs this week, and some of the vendors I used.
$68.00 at Carmel Farmers Market. Purchases included assorted vegetables and fruit, herbs, eggs and yogurt (totaling $34) mead ($20) and goat cheese ($12)
$22.00 at Traders Point Creamery. Purchases included milk, yogurt, raw milk cheese and fresh mozzarella.
$9.50 at the Take Root farm stand in Greenwood. Purchases included a variety of squash and a cantaloupe.
$8.50 at Downtown Farmer’s Market. Purchases included lettuce, sugar snap peas and raspberries.
$10.00 at Nature’s Cupboard. Purchases included more Traders Point Creamery yogurt and cheese.
I don’t know how this compares to how much I usually spend on groceries. It may be more than usual, however, because I think I spent more, and because some of the items were hard to come by, I was significantly less wasteful. And also because I always had a fridge and counter full of fresh produce, fruits and dairy, I definitely ate much healthier.
Today, I already had an all-local lunch, and I am going to continue eat locally whenever possible. However, I am looking forward to incorporating grains and nuts back into my diet. And my cup of coffee this morning never tasted so good.
It Started Off So Well…
Let me just preface this one with by stating that we still have company in town and it’s my husband birthday.
Going Local: Liz’s Day 7
It all started off so well with this delicious crustless quiche.
Lunch was butternut squash soup leftovers some super flavorful cherry tomatoes (pictured above) from the farmers market and an apple from Indiana Ladder Farms.
But for dinner, I caved! After watching some college football with friends and indulging in a few appetizers (non-local) my husband requested our favorite local (with not-so-local ingredients) pizza place for his birthday dinner. How can I say no? So on the 7th day, and 21st meal of the challenge, I cheated. I’m human. But I have learned my lesson this week and I can honestly say I am hooked on local foods and I will be eating predominately local foods well into next week and beyond!