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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" - http://www.locavores.com/how/

        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 - www.aliceqfoodie.com 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!

            1. Jishin - glad to hear you're thinking of taking the plunge. My husband and I starting seriously eating locally about two months ago and have found it to be a fabulous experience! You may find some helpful stuff on my blog http://localtarian.blogspot.com. Recently found a bison supplier (a little further away in Los Angeles). Curious to see what Jay finds out about processing of independent beef in southern california. Good luck and look forward to hearing what sort of sources you find!

              1. Jishin - I would encourage you to check into Catalina Offshore Products. They are a great source for fresh and locally caught seafood. You have to ask when you call what they have that was caught locally as it can change from time to time. Usually they at least have halibut and sea bass. Albacore is their specialty, but I had a bit of an adventure with it when I tried! As far as grains, I have yet to find a source.

                1 Reply
                1. re: localtarian

                  You might call or email Gregory Hunt in Costa Mesa. He has a farm called Sunrise Organics that grows oats and triticale. I found him by looking at the CCOF registry. I don't know where he sells.

                2. Again, thanks, folks! I'll be checking out everyone's recommendations. (: I really appreciate it!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Jishin

                    Come to think of it, if you get a craving for some meat or other food you can't personally locate a local source for, it would be easier to just go to The Linkery and eat there! I don't know if their pork is local, but the Brandt beef is and they are now serving local goat. At least then you don't have to worry about having to buy a large quantity if you just want a good burger. Also, if the beef bacon is being served when you go, definitely find a way to get some. It is the best merger between cow and bacon... so good!


                  2. An update: RC Livestock (40288 De Luz Murrieta Rd, Fallbrook, CA 92028, Ron & Cheryl Lange, 760-723-9193, cell: 951-970-5256, rclive@tfb.com) raises goats, sheep, and cattle that can be purchased by home consumers. I haven't done it myself (no room to store a whole or even half cow!), but you can learn more about the place from Sea Rocket Bistro that recently posted a video of their visit there (http://www.searocketbistro.com/conten...). Definitely worth a look!

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: localtarian

                      Hi there! Thanks for finding our RC Livestock blog- it was a really fun visit. I was visibly shocked when Cheryl said that their cows had never eaten corn! :-) Anyways, I just wanted to post the correct link for that since the one above has some funny characters at the end... Of course we have lots of other blogs about local only sources, so maybe that will help your quest. Good luck and we hope to meet you soon! Elena

                      1. re: rivellin

                        I just read on the Linkery Blog that RC Livestock is closing down. Bummer!

                    2. In the most recent edition of Edible San Diego, the review a resteraunt called ROMESCO, located in Bonita.


                      1. Apologies for the ignorant question: what is CSA? Thanks in advance for the answers. I am a nascent CHounder.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: ginael

                          Community supported agriculture - basically, you buy shares of a local farm and get weekly (or other) boxes of whatever is in season/growing on the farm. Here's a good article from Edible San Diego http://www.ediblesandiego.com/content...
                          and a good thread here on Chowhound

                        2. Jishin, you mentioned that it can be difficult to find locally made flour and although I haven't extensively investigated which brands are carried at which stores I do know for a fact that an awful lot wheat is grown in Imperial County just to the east of us over the mountains. Much if not most of Imperial County would fall with in your 200 mile radius so there is a pretty good chance you could find some local mill processing locally grown wheat in the Imperial Valley.