As you may remember from this previous post, I have decided to participate in the One Local Summer challenge organized by Liz at Pocket Farm. [Update: the project has grown so large that Liz has set up a blog just for OLS: check it out here.] Since I was too late for the official sign up, I have some freedom in reporting our progress to you guys (i.e. I don't have to do it every week), but I do want to update you periodically on how we're doing.
As you may remember, the challenge is to eat one entirely local meal per week for ten weeks. Just one meal. And Liz generously left the interpretation of "local food" and "completely" up to each individual. This is lucky for us, because we live in a small town with two grocery stores (both chains), one farm stand (which surprisingly carries items such as Washington cherries alongside local produce), one "Natural Foods" store that carries mostly vitamins and a few bulk items (bulghur, etc), and a very small tailgate market. The local Farmer's Market (which, I discovered, doesn't necessarily carry entirely local foods), is one hours away, as are some very nice whole and natural foods groceries. There is a very fine Local Foods Guide publication, but very few farms in it are close to us. So I knew that finding local foods would be a challenge.
But we have our garden, and my Dad's garden, and we do drive into Asheville most Sundays, so I figured it was doable. And, I have discovered, it is...if we think creatively.
I began with a reconnaissance mission to Greenlife Grocery in Asheville, on our way home from Sunday lunch with my in-laws. This place is fabulous, much like a local group of whole foods stores called Earth Fare, only smaller, with a younger, more hippie crowd. Greenlife does carry local meats, for a price. I found beef and pork (and some eggs) from Hickory Nut Gap Farms in Fairview, just outside of Asheville.
But they were not cheap and our summer cash flow is a little tight right now.
So, for our first local meal, I decided to just buy eggs, a dozen pretty brown eggs from Hickory Nut Gap Farms.
I surveyed my garden and offerings from the produce stand.
Here was our menu: Zucchini Frittata (zucchini from our garden, local eggs, basil and parsley from my herb garden, tomato and bell pepper from South Carolina, onions from our garden, non-local salt and pepper, non-local olive oil, bacon from Virginia, non-local butter, non-local Parmesan); salad of SC tomato, local cucumbers, and my own basil, parsley, rosemary, and oregano. Oh, and local watermelon for dessert.
And can I just say? It was delicious!
I even revisited the frittata filling a few days later, taking away the eggs and adding my own tomato sauce canned last summer and pouring it over (non-local) pasta. Yummy again.
I meant to have our second meal Friday: more squash, of course (we have quite a bit), bush beans (hooray, we have some), our own tomatoes, more produce-stand cukes (locally grown), our own fresh herbs. We ran into a snag with meat, however. We still do not have an easy, affordable local source for meat. I planned to make it just a vegetable meal, but my Dad came over with some grocery-store pork chops. Oh well. Best laid plans.
Tomorrow we will try again. Dad's going fishing, so our meat will be local trout, hopefully. His garden has new potatoes and cukes, and we have green beans, tomatoes, and of course, more squash. I think this one's going to be good...