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Eat Local Challenge

Are any of you Boston 'hounds participating in the Eat Local Challenge for September?

I know plenty of places to find my produce around town, but I'm still looking for better sources for local kitchen staples, pasta, chicken, pork, and dairy, to name a few. What farms and brands are on everyone's foodshed list? I know there must be good places in the South End and North End, but I don't know where they are.

Also, what restaurants are super-dedicated to sourcing local ingredients? You're allowed to make your own rules, and I think I'm going to say one day per week's worth of meals (3) or less don't have to be local, in case I need to eat out with someone, or I really need avocado or citrus, but a restaurant that I can count towards a local meal means one more restaurant meal I can have each week.

Thanks for your help!

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  1. There are some great links on this thread: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/406151

    Oleana in Cambridge is a great restaurant for local food (if you don't mind the price tag!). Also Henrietta's Table in Harvard Sq uses a lot of local produce and lists the farms on the menu.

      1. re: gini

        River Rock Farm has some of the best tasting beef I have eaten. I was a little bit skeptical considering it came frozen when I bought it at the farmers market in harvard square, but it was great.

        1. Grille Zone on Comm Ave at Babcock uses local products and they taste good too.
          Check out the hot dogs from Roxbury and the bottled sodas. They are contenders for best burger plus they use all recycled paper products. Even the wall is made out of recycled materials.

          1. If you want to be really dedicated, you could join a local CSA. My wife and I joined Chestnut Farms (http://www.chestnutfarms.org/) for our meat and eggs - all local grown, grass fed - and have been extremely happy with the quality and selection. They drop off at a number of places in the Boston Metro area. There are others that our friends joined. Check out:
            http://www.nofamass.org/programs/csa.php

            3 Replies
            1. re: tpapa2

              tpapa2, I started the meat CSA at Chestnut Farms in June, I'm a little on the fence about it. The pork chops are perfection, the lamb wonderful, but the beef I found to be somewhat uneven. Chicken is just chicken to me. I got sausage the first month, but there was an issue with the salt level and we haven't gotten it since. (I'm wondering if that issue has gotten better.)

              I bought eggs at the feed & grain place in Acton when I went to buy dogfood of all things. I figure tons of omlets for the next two weeks, yumm..

              I was hoping to have fresh duck from my friend, but that damn a Fisher Cat killed them. Didn't even have the decency to eat them all, kill a whole bunch and only take one to eat. (The ballooning Fisher Cat population in the exburbs is usually not a problem with the grocery store. All I know is my plans for homemade duck confit for fall are now destroyed.)

              Verrill Farms also has read to eat meals. I'm not sure how much is local vs not, but they are yummy. Nancy's Airfield Cafe in Stow serves dinner on Friday & Saturdays, breakfast/lunch otherwise and they keep local most of the time.

              1. re: stupiddog

                There are places in Chinatown that have live chickens that they'll kill on the spot for you, I wonder if they do ducks.

                Then again, who knows how long those birds have been in what looks like a kennel in there...or where they were raised to begin with.

                If you do 150 miles like I'm planning to, the whole east end of Long Island is game, and they're big on ducks. It's a long trip, but it's a nice visit. Plus there's lots of local wine down there too.

                1. re: stupiddog

                  stupiddog,We've getting meat from Chestnut Farm since about June as well. You're right the lamb and pork products are sensational (and especially the bacon!). I've had good luck with the sausage - both breakfast links and Italian - we've had a lot of house guest this summer who have all glowing scarfed them down. Some of the beef cuts are not your typical grocery store cuts and require some long slow cooking - it makes for interesting cooking. Though have made the wrong call on the long, slow vs. high fast on one or tow occasions. They are nice people who make decent product - I hope you give them another chance in the future. Too bad about the Fisher Cats, just thinking about making confit makes me salivate - call me pavlovsdog.