Summer of Local Foods

 

What does “Local” mean to you?

This winter, myself and a small group of self-proclaimed local food enthusiasts posed the question “What is Local?” to everyone we could get a hold of – neighbors, friends, business owners, small farmers, large farmers, gardeners…

Results were varied, to say the least. Although people overwhelmingly believed that local should mean grown in their community – the definition of community could mean their hometown; a certain mile radius; a portion of the country; or simply grown in the USA.

As I’ve mentioned before, living in downtown Minneapolis put me within walking distance of a handful of farmers’ markets.  These markets are as much of a social gathering as they are a means to stock up on items for the week ahead.

This summer I’ve made a commitment to drive the hour every Saturday to our local farmers market and hopping on board a #SummerOfLocalFoods

I find myself getting to know the handful of vendors that are so passionate about what they grow and raise; and in turn they get me to try new foods (pea shoots, kohlrabi… to name a few).

Now, is farmers’ market food more expensive? Maybe.  Depends if you’re talking about the actual money you dish out or the expense on our environment to get much of the produce you see in the supermarkets.  See what I did there?

Yes, an onion for $2 seems steep, but how often do you buy a bag of onions where half of them go bad before you get to them?

Or, when was the last time you’ve actually TASTED a carrot.  Not just a crisp, orange log that vaguely tastes like nutritious soil [clearly I’m not a big fan of the carrots I grew up with…] but a REAL carrot. Take it from me, more times than not if you try a farmers’ market variety you’ll discover that you may actually LIKE a vegetable you’ve previously written off.

These carrots were so pretty I actually put one bunch in a glass vase and displayed it on my counter for a day or two! (From Springerridge)

I find myself being more resourceful when not confronted with 10+ aisles of food and freezer-ready meals.  I find that I spend less time and money at the grocery store.

After all, in one day I was able to purchase from each of these food groups:

+ Baked Goods. Bleu Cheese & Bacon Loaf; Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies
+ Meat.  Canadian Bacon; Soup Bones (for the pup!)
+ Veggies. Onions, Green Beans, Pea Shoots, Carrots & Scallions.
+ Herbs. Rosemary & Basil
+ Dairy. Tomato Basil Cheese

The farmers’ market trips are a start, and I’m proud of the movement in Pierre to get more local foods in peoples’ homes, grocers and restaurants.

One small step, right?  I dig it.

* Looking for the deets on the Pierre area farmers markets? Take a look at Country Farmers Market & Capitol City Farmers Market

** Check out the results of our foods study here!

*** Follow our Dakota Rural Action chapter “Greater Oahe Action League” on Facebook!

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A lunchtime collection from my backyard garden!

 

 

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Belizean Shrimp

As soon as I read the blog post accompanying Half Baked Harvest‘s recipe for “Honey Garlic Butter Shrimp in Coconut Sauce” I had to try it.

Inspired by her sibling’s travels through Central America, this dish captures the flavors that I remember from my own honeymoon to Belize: seafood, coconut, rice, spicy and sweet, fresh.

Unable to locate avocados nor plantains in the middle of the Midwest, I opted out and just enjoyed these delicious shrimp over rice made with coconut milk in my pressure cooker.

I also had to opt in freeze dried ginger and frozen cilantro, but the local honey from our fields and basil from my garden really shine through!

Check out Half Baked Harvest and all Tieghan’s beautiful food photography and inspiring dishes on her blog!

Now, if I could only get my lips on a Belikin…