Thursday, October 2, 2008

We are NOT ready for the Eat Local Challenge.

The month of October has come, and lots of food bloggers seem to be signing up for the Eat Local Challenge to eat entirely within your local foodshed for 1 month. I totally respect the 100-mile diet philosophy, even though I live in a climate where harsh winters make it a little different from the same diet on the west coast. The autumn bounties available in the Schoharie, Mohawk, and Hudson valleys are actually pretty impressive. It really easy to find local farms and dairies, and the cost is not nearly what you might pay in areas where the cost of living and land-owning is much higher (i.e. California). We recently moved out of the city to a rural area, and now we have neighbors who are farmers - it's such a peaceful pleasure to watch the herds of cattle grazing in the pasture in the morning when I walk my dog. I've been going out of my way to find the retailers for the family farms that seem so plentiful, and so far I've been pretty lucky. 
I love-love-love the milk from Meadowbrook Farms in Clarksville, which I've been buying in a reusable glass jug. It tastes fresher, cleaner, and sweeter than milk from the supermarket. Their heavy cream makes the richest, creamiest homemade ice cream that I've ever had. 
Schoharie Valley Farms is only a 6-minute drive from our home, although I never make it there before 6pm on the weekdays, so I calways end up mixing with the weekend crowds. Besides the  Carrot Barn carrots, I get lovely local fruit from SVF, not to mention fresh hot cider donuts (mmmm, donuts). King's Roaming Angus farm, in Cobleskill, sells great cage-free eggs, whose yolks stand right up in the frying pan, and their beef is tasty and not as expensive as you'd expect for pasture-raised Angus beef. We've also had bok choy, scallions and tomatoes from Wintergreen farm in Sharon Springs, whose owner is always super-friendly and cheerful at the Saturday farmer's market.
Why aren't we ready for the Eat Local Challenge? One big reason is that we just haven't done enough research to find good replacements for most of our staples. Just thinking about the Eat Local Challenge has made me realize how we take for granted so many trucked-in dry goods, like corn chips, raisins and pancake mix. So, instead of taking the a leap into the locavore pond, we've decided to dangle our toes. Our goal this month, rather than eating 100% locally, is simply to eat at least one local product per day. It's going to take some planning to make sure we don't forget to shop locally regularly, but who knows, it might be good for us, and it might just become a pleasurable habit.