The Eat Local Challenge asks us to eat four out of five meals locally. For the most part, I think I have been able to eat four local ingredients out of every five since the challenge began. When I do eat out, I am trying to make sure I eat at locally owned restaurants. Why did I feel like I fell off the wagon? I enjoyed an iced coffee from Starbucks! Hey, at least I enjoyed it. It had been a long day, even though it was only 4:00 in the afternoon, and I still had more chores on my to do list. This is the time of year when most of us who try to grow and store much of our own food tend to burn the candle at both ends. Whatever my excuses, I stopped at Target on Tuesday to buy cat food and found myself walking straight to the Starbucks counter. Knowing that Starbucks coffee is neither locally grown nor locally distributed, I contemplated the purchase a bit more than usual. If anything, the Eat Local Challenge gets us thinking about our choices.
As I enjoyed my coffee and headed to the cat food aisle, I thought about my choice of beverages throughout this challenge. I’ve been doing very well with the food, but had put little thought into my morning cup of tea (non-local Celestial Seasonings) or even the occasional bottle of water (non-local and not sustainable). I vowed to include beverages in my Eat Local diet as much as possible. This means that I will be carrying my re-usable to-go cup with me when I leave the house. I used to have a stainless steel tea cup that went everywhere with me. A close friend used to joke that it was attached to my hand. I can get back into this habit. The benefits will be less use of plastic and less money spent on beverages. The only drawbacks are one more thing to carry and the need to plan ahead.
All this thinking about beverages made me think about all of the other non-local items I rely on every day. My shampoo, make-up, soap, etc. Even my cat’s daily cans of food come from another state. In fact, looking at the cat food label, I was shocked to find out that Friskies is made by Nestle, a company I had thought that I was boycotting due to their infant formula policies in third world countries. I grabbed a few cans of Friskies to help transition my sensitive cat to a new food and several cans of a different brand. Neither of the cat foods were locally made. Most likely, the cat food ingredients came from all over the country and even other countries.
If I had more money, cat food would be my first change. I do wish that I could feed my cat the same quality of healthy food that I consume myself. For a while, I did make him home-made food. I was living on a beef farm at the time and had plenty of quality ingredients. At that home, he also had the freedom to run outside and catch some of his own food to supplement his diet. Now he is again an indoor cat and also a senior with poor teeth. (Perhaps his teeth would be in better shape if he had a better diet throughout his life.) For now, I will do the best I can afford and stop worrying about whether my cat food is local. (I will still make sure that it isn’t made by Nestle Purina!)
Granola from JoshEWEa’s Garden, local milk
Home-grown zucchini, cucumbers, carrots and tomatoes with home-made Ranch Dressing (home-grown parsley and chives with non-local mayo and yogurt)
Turkey sandwiches and frozen custard from Luke’s (local restaurant, not sure if locally grown food)
Local, home-made Meat loaf, home grown potatoes and sweet corn, local butter, local milk
McCann’s Irish Oatmeal (locally distributed, not locally grown), local butter, local honey
Home-grown raspberries and watermelon – yum!
Leftover turkey from Luke’s, home-grown veggies, leftover Ranch dip, Wild Flour Bakery sourdough bread, home-grown sweet corn, local butter
Local Free Range Chicken (Sashay Acres), home-grown sweet corn, home-grown fermented veggies
home-made cookie made with Great Harvest Cookie mix (MN), local butter and home-grown zucchini, local milk with local sorghum because it was starting to sour
JoshEWEa’s Garden Granola cooked with water to make a porridge
Leftover Local chicken sandwich made with non-local spelt tortilla and local cheese, home-grown veggies
Great Harvest Cookie (regional, MN)
Annie’s pasta with local beef and local veggies (snack at friend’s house)
Locally made Brown Rice Pasta, local grass fed beef, non-local tomato sauce, home-grown cucumbers, home-made pineapple chutney (home-grown cilantro and non-local pineapple), local beer (New Glarus Spotted Cow)
I will be adding lacto-fermented pineapple chutney to several meals over the next few because I have to finish it within the month. Fruit ferments don’t keep as long as the veggies. I made is a month ago when my mom had bought a pineapple and I had cilantro ready in my garden, two things that don’t happen very often. The recipe came from Nourishing Traditions. Though I don’t usually purchase pineapples (talk about food miles!), they are very high in enzymes and helpful for digestion.