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Aug 21, 2007 12:05 PM

Local-only eating (San Diego)

Heya folks,

I'm pondering the reality of taking a local-only challenge, and trying to manage for a while on only food that comes from about a 200-mile radius from San Diego. Better-tasting because it hasn't been shipped so far, and better for the environment too.

I know I can manage fruits and veggies easily on a CSA and from the farmers' markets (I might be able to manage dairy and eggs from them too), but I'm kinda stumped on what to do for staples (like flour) and meats/fish. Has anyone done anything like this before, or have any advice?

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  1. Local seafood can be found at Blue Water on India St., and El Pescador in La Jolla.

    People's Co-Op in Ocean Beach also sells some local foodstuffs, though no meat. They do sell local dairy products, I believe.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Josh

      La Brea breads bakes so much bread perhaps they mill their own flour? But since I don't think wheat is really grown in Southern California you may have to use only corn products (tortillas etc...)
      And I am fairly certain that while there may be beef grown within 200 miles that there isn't a meat packing facility within 200 miles so all beef is probably out.

    2. You might send an email to Jay from The Linkery. He could have a interesting list of local sources which will help you.

      1 Reply
      1. re: honkman

        Funny, I just logged on to update the old "Natural/Organic Meat in SD" thread with new -to-me information, and here is this new thread.

        Anyway, after some misadventures in trying to bring a few local goats up to be processed in the Central Coast, a local livestock farmer and the folks at Cal Poly Pomona did a bunch of work, and it appears there *is* an infrastructure for USDA-approved processing independent local livestock in Southern California, that I just hadn't learned about yet.

        I'm going to one possible processor on Friday, and I'll learn their capabilities are. If they are robust, it means that, in addition to restaurants being able to serve local meat, it should be possible to set up a system for local consumers to buy local meat from some retail outlet.

        When I know more I'll post here and on my blog.

        A couple other meat options:

        1) Brandt Beef is raised in Brawley and processed in Pico Rivera, so that should qualify. It's not pastured, but it is thoughtfully raised by a family concerned with the environment.

        2) A&W Emu Ranch has locally raised emu (delicious red meat poultry, mmm, very lean though). It's processed on the Central Coast -- I think the nearest emu capable plant -- or in Oklahoma, either way means the food miles aren't exactly low, even though the birds live next door. Everyday wackiness of the industrial food system, nothing unusual.

      2. It kind of depends on how far you want to take it - even the most hardcore locavores have some "exemptions" they allow themselves - like salt and pepper, worcestershire sauce, baking soda, etc. You can also shift to local processors and purveyors where local producers just aren't practical - say with beef or coffee, for example. As set forth in the "Locavore Manifesto" -

        I have also signed up to do the eat local challenge in September. I plan to use a lot of local produce, and buy everything else from a local source - Ballast Point beers, Caffe Calabria coffee, Orfila wines, meats from Hamilton's, bread from Bread and Cie and Bread on Market, milk from Straus Creamery (though it's not local, it's from Nor Cal, and it's organic and I can buy it at a local co-op). I will get eggs at the farmers' market from San Pasqual Academy, fresh salsas from Salsa Chilena, chocolates from Guanni and Chuao, and I won't be shy about using up whatever's in the pantry. It's a sin to waste food energy, or at least that's the way I look at it. If it's been produced and it's already purchased, there's no reason not to use it.

        I also have some information about eating locally and local sources for food that you may find interesting on my blog - The links about sustainable eating and local restaurants and food sources are on the side bar.

        1. Check out San Diego blogger, Good Food Comes From Happy Cows

          She has a comprehensive list of San Diego Farmers Markets and some food store choices.
          Best wishes with your choice. Keep us up dated on how it's going.

          1. Thanks all for your help -- I'll definitely be checking out the links and seeing what I can find out. (: I appreciate it!