Preparing for a 100-Mile Diet Challenge

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In preparation for next week’s 100-mile Diet (part of my Catamount Earth Institute EcoChallenge) I went to the Norwich Farmers Market this morning: I bought black beans from Cedar Circle; eggs from Fat Rooster; cheese from Jericho Hill;  spinach, parsnips, and onions from Blue Ox; potatoes from Luna Bleu; black walnuts from Ark of Safety. The walnuts were such a nice surprise – and shelled and chopped! (I often use non-local toasted walnuts atop pasta dishes, pizza, and quesedillas, so I won’t feel deprived in the coming week.) The next stop was the Lebanon Co-op for VT Creamery butter and creme fraiche, Lake Champlain apples, Beidler Family Farm organic whole wheat flour, Green Mountain Flour Spelt pitas, Strafford Creamery organic milk, and local maple syrup. Added to supplies I already have (including frozen tomatoes, basil, chard, parsley, and chives from last summer’s garden) I am feeling that this coming week will not be one of deprivation, but instead, a tasty and enjoyable challenge.  How lucky we are to have this bounty of local foods year-round!

Postnote: I was excited by the availability of local black walnuts . . . but I have to say I did not enjoy them. Knowing that they can have an astringent aftertaste, I soaked them overnight in water and then let them dry. They definitely had a chemical taste. Black walnut tree roots release a chemical called juglone that is toxic to many plants; perhaps that is the taste I found unpleasant. I have since read that one should soak them in brine . . . maybe that would do the trick?

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2 Responses to Preparing for a 100-Mile Diet Challenge

  1. Sounds like a fun challenge, at a time of year that can be a challenge to cook with local ingredients (between farmers market seasons, end of winter frozen supplies, etc.). I look forward to hearing more about the week. I’d also love to hear your thoughts on progress (if any) in eating locally becoming a more affordable choice. Good luck!
    Eleanor

  2. uvlocalvores says:

    Hi Eleanor, One place I do see progress is in availability of greens mid-April – I remember taking a “Penny-Pinchers Locavore Challenge” back in April 2008 and being rescued from my no-greens dilemma by the emergence of dandelions in my yard. Today baby lettuce greens, chard, kale, and spinach were available from a number of vendors at the Norwich Farmers Market, greens grown in no-fossil-fuel high tunnels. And there are delicious frozen green beans available through the Neighboring Food Co-ops. Like you, I try to grow some of my own food and preserve it through freezing and canning . . a deeply satisfying activity as well as a way to save money. I also believe in paying farmers a decent compensation for their efforts, realizing that cheap food often has hidden costs. I see a real effort to make local produce available to the most economically-vulnerable people through Willing Hands (http://www.willinghands.org/) local food banks, volunteer gleaning, EBT machines at farmers markets accepting WIC cards, etc. Is that the case in your area too?

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