Is anyone doing the latest, Fourth Annual Eat Local Challenge for October 2008? After trying it last year, in April I think, I guess I'm one of the converted. The challenge then was to try to eat locally within the budget of the average American family ($122 for us) for a week. It was surprisingly easy to do (for a week anyway). So it seemed like fun to sign up for this one and compare the experience.
Since last year we've pretty much reversed the way we shop and eat - from getting almost everything at the grocery store and a few things locally to getting almost everything from a local source and buying just a few things at the Co-op. Something I hadn't expected to happen is that we've also gone from eating out several times a week to almost never eating out. The upside of that is - it's actually a treat to eat out now. The downside is - there are very few places where we really want to eat out.
We're not rabid locavores. I'd say we're more common sense locavores. Flexivores? I still like avocados for guacamole and limes for my gin and tonic (although we are drinking an excellent midwestern gin now - the best I've ever had!) So it's not a question of depriving ourselves of things that we really like. It's been a shift in perspective to more fully appreciating the beauty and the seasons and the wonderful foods of Michigan. What is that quote about seeing something with new eyes? There's so much to love in this state.
So, for the Challenge, you're supposed to answer these questions:
1. What is your definition of local?
From Michigan or within 100 miles - whichever is farther.
2. What exemptions will you claim?
Well, probably most of the usual "Marco Polo" exemptions. Coffee, spices, the occasional grain or fruit or beverage.
3. What is your goal for the month?
My goal for the month is to appreciate what's local in every meal we eat and to post recipes and ideas, once a week during the Challenge, for myself and anyone else who wants to move in the locavore direction.
Also, to ask at every restaurant, if we eat out, what is on the menu that comes from Michigan. And, if I get really motivated, I would like to write a Dear John letter to Kroger (where I used to do the bulk of my grocery shopping) letting them know why I've broken it off with them.
We've done pretty well on eating locally today:
Breakfast: homemade granola (all local ingredients) with homemade yogurt (local milk)
Lunch: Leftover garlic-veggie casserole and caprese salad (all local except the couscous with the casserole. Oh, and the parmesan on top).
Dinner: Tacos (all local Yay Ann Arbor Tortilla Factory!) and guacamole from the avocados I bought last week. And a local peach for dessert. And B. had a local beer.
Ok then, let the games begin.