Posted by: Hil | June 14, 2009

Local Eating Update

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Thus far, our local eating challenge has been going really well.  We’ve definitely been eating a lot more produce and relying much more on the farmers market.  We’ve also been eating a more varied assortment of foods.  This is the opposite of what I expected…I assumed that when we forced ourselves to stick to local, seasonal (but still affordable) foods, that our options would decrease.  What I didn’t realize was how often I kept buying the same handful of items at the grocery store.  At the farmers market, I am much more likely to try different things that might take a little bit more time or thought to prepare.  I’m also gradually getting over my impulse to buy everything in sight every time I visit the farmers market.  It helps a lot to know that I’m going to be back in a couple days.  When farmers market is the default option, its much easier to exercise restraint and just buy what I need.  I actually still have some veggies left in the fridge from last week, so this Sunday’s market trip was pretty simple:  a half loaf of bread, strawberries, feta, sun dried tomatoes, and arugula.  That giant bunch of arugula was only $1!

What really surprised me is how easy its been to go at least semi-local with the vast majority of of my non-farmers market food purchases.  This was my Whole Foods haul for the week, and the only non-California item was the sugar.  Everything else was from California, and most of it was from Southern California.  I’ve been doing a fair amount of research on companies lately, but I think that once I know which brands are local, sticking to California food at the grocery store is going to be pretty easy.  This is seeming like something that will be very sustainable in the long run as long as we keep up with getting to the farmers market or join a CSA.

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I had a lot of fun cooking with my groceries today.  Lately, I find myself more and more inclined toward simple preparations.  When you have such delicious ingredients, you don’t really want to mess with them too much.  I had some cheddar in the fridge that needed to be used up, so lunch was grilled cheese and an arugula salad with lemon and olive oil.  There is something deeply satisfying about crunchy carbohydrate stuffed with melted cheese.

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I also had some fresh strawberries.  The vendor at the farmers market let me sample different varieties and pick out the ones that I liked the best.  These are Camarosas.  They were sweet and firm and definitely my favorite of the kinds that I tried.

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The NBA finals were on tonight, so finger food was in order:  grapes and pita pizzas.

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I topped my pizza with homemade pesto, arugula, and sun dried tomato.  This was really good.  I particularly liked the sun dried tomatoes, which were more flavorful than many of the store bought ones I have tried.

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Question of the day:  Has anyone joined a CSA with a small number of people to feed (i.e. one or two)?  Does the box have too much or too little food for your household?  Do you have trouble using it before it goes bad?

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Responses

  1. I also find that with Farmer’s Markets, there are so many options! They carry so much more than I realized and it really can help get one out of a food rut.

    My roommate and I had a winter CSA, where we would pick up a box every other week. Sometimes, it was a lot and sometimes too little, depending on that particular week. However, since it was the winter, the root veggies held up particularly well when we took care of them right (keeping the dirt on them and keeping them in paper bags, etc). Our farm was also excellent about providing us with countless recipes to use up our veggies quick but sometimes, it was a struggle. How many times can I eat cabbage and butternut squash a week before craving something else?

    All in all though, I think it was a fantastic investment and really showed me what’s it’s like to eat seasonally. Besides, it saved us a ton of money in grocery bills!

  2. I love that you’re shopping primarily at farmers markets and are trying to eat only local. It’s something I hope to do soon, but I think I’ll have slightly less options than you do (but I guess I never know until I look and see!)

    I’ve never done a CSA but have seriously considered it many times and hope to join one later this year or next year. My husband and I have had many friends that have done them and they were often able to get half shares or get their share every other week… It was still a lot of produce, but they enjoyed trying new things when those items in season changed.

  3. I joined CSA during the school year when I was living in my apartment last year.I only got a delivery every two weeks and planned my meals accordingly. I was the only one who ate any of the produce but hardly ever wasted it, it was such an inexpensive option and everything always tasted better because ti was seasonal, fresh, and organic. Enjoy! 🙂

  4. Delicious. I get so excited about the VARIETY in choices when it comes to eating local- especially during the summer months.

  5. I don’t think we have a CSA in Mississippi there was talk but most of the farmers here are selling, peppers and tomatoes….last year was our first year for growing veggies…this year we have tomato, peppers (bell), some zuc and squash, LA purple pole (green beans that are purple but turn green when you cook them), radishes, corn and cucumbers. We are trying to perfect them first…without anything on them but water, soil, good compost…

  6. Our neighbors are part of a CSA, and they often share the wealth with us. For the most part though they eat it all, really finding new ways to eat veggies throughout the day.

  7. I’ve been considering CSA for a LONGG time now.. and have the same problem as you do! I’m wondering if it’ll be TOO much produce..

  8. What a fun challenge, I can’t wait to hit up our farmer’s market on Friday, we’ve been so busy that we kept forgetting about it.

  9. hey! I found your blog through Say Yes to Salad, I thought that I would stop by and comment:]Looking foward to reading more posts!

  10. So far we’ve had just the right amount of produce from our weekly CSA, but we’re splitting it with another couple so that one box goes four ways. It’ll be interesting to see how we do as the season goes on and more plants start maturing.


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