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Slow Food Challenge?

WINTER SEASON ....a little more difficult.
What type of creative meal can you prepare utilizing only ingredients that are native to your area/region? A radius of say 25 miles from home. (Not written in stone)
As close to 100% local ingredients as possible, please

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  1. The "local" food challenge is almost impossible as you define it. Who wants to eat that way? Everything 100% from within 25 miles when most of us live in cities where we can't even keep a chicken or grow a small garden? Can you do that even in summer?

    I think the articles that have been written on this are affectations by writers looking to sell their work, maybe prove a point. They're silly.
    As long as man could walk, ride a horse, had pack animals, sail a ship or set out to see what was on the other side of the mountains or ocean, he has brought back foods from afar or seeds and cuttings for plants to enrich his life. Why should we do without them?
    This doesn't mean that I should be eating asparagus and peaches now. I don't. They taste wrong and out of place on my table. They won't be as magical when their time comes.
    But I'll be damned if I'm going to live without my coffee, pepper, salt, lemons, even the oysters from the Chesapeake Bay that came 50 miles by truck to the fish market near me, or the collard greens that were grown 100 miles away, cinnamon, flour and rice that don't grow near here, olive oil, steak from the Mid-West, chicken from N. Carolina, wild-caught shrimp from the Gulf and all the other things that I love.
    Most of what I eat is seasonal and local, bought at farmers' markets, even now in winter in the Mid-Atlantic. But no way am I doing without spices and herbs and staples of life.

    6 Replies
    1. re: MakingSense

      Chill! He didn't say make it a way of life, he said make a *meal* -- surely that's not impossible, even for city dwellers. Most cities have a green belt around them with truck farms that will produce something you can make a meal with. Egg and milk production tend to be the last farming operations to move away from cities, because of the high demand and the perishability and high cost of shipping the product(s). And don't forget they call New Jersey the garden state!

      1. re: Ruth Lafler

        The OP did challenge us to prepare a meal "utilizing only ingredients that are native to your area/region... a radius of say 25 miles from home...as close to 100% local ingredients as possible, please." That's hardly possible for most of us. I'm not sure Frugalscot can do it in Toronto where he posts from this time of year. Any cows, pigs and chickens inside the Washington DC Beltway are likely in petting zoos. Most major cites are pretty much the same and last week about 60% of the US was covered with snow. Did you see the weather reports for Florida last night? The Bay Area is an anomaly but you still probably don't have farms within 25 miles of the city center.

      2. re: MakingSense

        You are assigning a strictness to the locavore movement that simply does not exist. After all, no sane chef would cook without salt. locavores.com expressly permits leaving your 100 mile "food shed" for certain purchases. If a food you love or need is not available locally, try and source it from an organic and/or family farm and try to purchase it through a local business. It's also perfectly acceptable to purchase "foods famous for the region they are grown in " such as brie from Brie and parmesan from Parma.

        Your historical diatribe also seems to confuse localism with nativism. Locavores have no objections to cultivating non-native plant species.

        I am surprised to hear that you can't find good, pasture-raised beef or chicken in the Mid-Atlantic region.

        Given the way you describe your own eating and buying habits, I'd argue that you are a locavore regardless of whether you embrace the label.

        1. re: Morton the Mousse

          Your explanation of the locavore movement is one that makes sense not only for one meal but also as a goal for a way to live life. It just takes thinking about what you eat and some planning.
          Although it's below freezing and I live in the heart of the city, I was out today along the Chesapeake gathering local foods and buying other things from the same small vendors I've traded with for years. Even got some venison, geese, and fish from friends who hunt and fish. I was fortunate to have a free day to do that but I can still do it in town with moderate effort.
          There is pastured beef , organic everything and all the other goodies here in town but it isn't that easy to find. I've always shopped this way so I know where to go but it's overwhelming for younger people or those new to town. It's all too easy for them to go to the supermarket.
          Many towns don't have established small vendors, family farms who sell in town or even local producers who sell through other outlets. The specialty imports can be very expensive for many people on budgets if they do find shops that carry them.
          Sometimes those who live in CA don't recognize how hard it is in much of the US for a great portion of the year when the farmers' markets cease operation. Things are easily available in NY but that's not true in many smaller towns in the Heartland where people have to drive long distances to stores. There have been more than enough silly articles extolling the virtues of only buying locally. I'm old enough to remember what it was like to live through the winter with nothing but a little iceberg lettuce for salads and I'm not going to tell people in Nebraska that they should live that way. Maybe one day we'll have a food system that makes it possible but it's not here today.

        2. re: MakingSense

          Didn't mean to upset. Was just hoping some folks might be up for this type of culinary challenge.

          1. re: MakingSense

            I agree. I am a Slow Foods member and do try to buy what is produced in my area. Right now with the exception of meat and eggs there is not much to be had. If I had taken the time to can this summer instead of working I might have something to add to the meat but I did not. Our local Winter Market will start in a few weeks and it will be interesting to see what the local growers bring in. If I expand the radius I might be able to add Capriole cheeses to out meal.

          2. Where I live (Jersey shore) 'local' is probably limited to squirrel meat and twigs (ok, some fish obviously). Fortunately we are also endowed here with a great highway system, refrigeration, etc., so I can enjoy relatively good food and produce 12 months a year. And I have numerous food stores within 25 miles. There's nothing better than fresh jersy corn, tomatoes, blueberries, etc., during the peak season, but as I tend to eat year round, I have found alternatives,

            1 Reply
            1. re: bnemes3343

              Rub the twigs together, bnemes3343, to make a fire and roast the squirel over it. Voila!
              Perhaps a new nutty flavoured delight. Davy Crockett would be proud of you.

            2. fruglescot, I admire your challenge. I did the eat local challenge for the month of August 2006. Granted, August isn't the toughest time, but I live in Minnesota and I needed a little slack. My radius was 100 miles. (Whole Foods considers anything within a 7-hour drive - less than a day - to be "local.") I allowed myself coffee and chocolate, salt and spices (but I actually gave up Diet Coke for the whole month - that was a real challenge for me!). But absolutely everything else came from within 100-miles. I agree with MakingSense that we shouldn't or needn't eat this way 100% of the time, however, I found one of the great values of challenging myself for a month was discovering local producers for items I didn't think I could find - tortilla chips (ingredients and processing both local), oatmeal and vinegar, for example. I also got really in tune with with what's seasonal. The challenge definitely influenced how I continue to eat today.

              That said, what is available locally for you depends on where you are. Right now, I'm still getting local beets, radishes, carrots, squash, parsnips and cabbage. All easy to prepare with minimal added ingredients. I roast a lot of veggies and I actually recently ate squash for dinner 10 nights in a row (because I love it, not because I "had to." But trust me, I'm excited when the first asapargas turns up in the spring! Besides veggies, I would bet you can get locally raised meets, eggs and local cheeses. I had to give up tofu for my challenge month, but I sure did eat a lot of good cheese and steak!

              14 Replies
              1. re: jennywinker

                Actually, we're eating many squash meals back-to-back right now, because we "have" to. The squash we've stored from our CSA is in rapid decline, so we're using it up as fast as we can. I'm astonished you're still getting local radishes--lucky you!--we got radishes in our CSA in spring and haven't had any since. Otherwise, we're using up the last of our CSA potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, carrots, cabbage, rutabagas, garlic, and brussels sprouts and celeriac. Of course, all of those things were harvested two months ago or so before the ground froze...

                We have a bunch of chicken stock in the freezer we made from our CSA chicken carcasses and various veggies and we also freezed a lot of shredded zucchini (all gone now), chopped onions, chopped scallions.

                If we're allowed to count the locally-raised pork we have in our freezer (purchased directly from the farmer and butchered by a local butcher--that's within about 100 miles), and skipped the "browning step" we can make this crockpot pork chops and sauerkraut recipe (the second of the two recipes in the post) right now entirely from local ingredients (the honeycrisp apples come from our co-op, but they're local. Not sure within 25 miles, but certainly within 100...) (The recipe calls for a can of sauerkraut, but we could certainly have made it ourselves from the CSA cabbage we have in our fridge...) Not sure if that's "creative" enough for you.

                http://www.chowhound.com/topics/47339... (we also threw some cinderella squash in with the sweet potatoes this time around because, as I said, we're trying to use up the squash).

                During CSA season (May-early December for my CSA) we eat pretty darn locally most of the time, mostly just due to pressure to not let anything go to waste. All our produce comes from the CSA, as do our chickens and maple syrup. We keep bees, so that's our source of honey. We work directly with the folks who raise and butcher our beef and pork. And, here in Minnesota, all of our dairy is easy to get locally and it's easy to "choose" local.

                But, yeah, salt, olive oil, coffee, spices, that all comes from afar. And anytime you want an "authentic" ethnic ingredient, those come from afar, too.


                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                  TDQ- which CSA do you use? We joined one last year that failed within a month. We would like to find another one, but are very wary. The CSA you were in seems like it was very good, if you are still eating from it.

                  Also, you can get local organic radishes and eggplants at Lunds still.

                  1. re: churchka


                    Oh, sorry to hear your CSA experience this year wasn't a good one. With all of the floods this year, I suspect it was a bad year for a lot of CSA's (although, if yours failed within a months, that sounds too early in the season to be flood related...). We were very lucky and very happy with Hog's Back. We plan on re-upping with them next year. I know most of their shares sell out quickly and they give preference to people who subscribed in the prior year, so you might wish to contact them as soon as possible to be put on a waiting list of some sort.

                    Will have to look for those eggplants and radishes at Lunds! Thanks for the tip.


                    1. re: churchka

                      Was that Double Rabbit Farm, by chance? I'd like to find a good CSA too, but am very wary after a really bad first experience.

                      1. re: egusto

                        It was Double Rabbit Farm. I'm still bitter. Never trust hippies.

                        But I contacted the folks at Hogs Back Farm and they will notify me when shares are open. I'm giving this whole thing another chance.

                      2. re: The Dairy Queen

                        THINK GLOBALLY ...EAT LOCALLY
                        Since I proposed the SLOW FOOD ( eat local) winter challenge I suppose I should submit a menu of my own.
                        So many Ontario wines to chose from just down the QEW in St. Catherines but available through the LCBO stores. I'll go for an inexpensive Merlot from Inniskillen Winery. (It's Fruglescot's favourite)

                        Roast of pork from the local Chinese market that sells farm fresh local meat.
                        There is a locally made soy sauce, I've seen, that could be used for seasoning, along with home grown sage, and Ontario garlic from the St. Lawrence Farmer's Market to spike the roast. Local apples will provide an applesauce side or I could serve it with red current sauce. (picked locally from my neighbours garden and frozen)

                        The dinner will commence with an onion, hot house tomato and carrot shavings salad with parsley & garlic and a vinegrette dressing with a small amount of back bacon dripping for taste (olive oil free)

                        A pureed soup of carrot, parsnip , sweet and white potatoe,Ontario (unsalted) butter and hopefully ginger (if its available locally?)

                        The pork main will be served with a baked buttercup squash half, flavoured gently with honey or maple syrup, butter and a bit of garlic (YES, You noticed.?..I like garlic. In my mind it substitutes for salt although I do use celery salt a lot) I learned about a wonderful rootabaga back bacon and cabbage recipe here on Chow hound recently but I think I'll opt for some Ontario frozen peas as a colourful veggie side and to avoid abundant root selections.
                        For desert ... An upside down Cranberry bread cake/brioche (Muskowka, Ont (see a map) crans' are some of the best in NA but outside the 25 mile radius)
                        I could get some locally produced vanilla ice cream from Reid's Dairy as well.
                        Canadian old fashioned style butter tarts would be another desert posibility
                        A dram of Ontario Ice Wine for my guests as an aperitif ('apropos' in winter ?).
                        Mint tea would be available after the meal.

                        Care to join us for our regional supper?

                        What are you serving?

                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                          TDQ - Lucky you with the squash. My CSA's squash crop was in a critical stage of development when we got that huge dump of rain and it ruined the whole crop :-(

                          There are black radishes at Mississippi Market from a local source. And don't forget about that local burdock root!

                          1. re: jennywinker

                            Oh that is a real bummer. Well, one of the things you're supposed to be doing with a CSA is helping to support the farmer by guaranteeing him or her a crop, even when the crop fails. But, hopefully, the good outweighs the bad for you, as a consumer...

                            I've never heard of black radishes and...well, I'm not sure what to do with burdock root! I suppose I should investigate. Thanks for the tips.


                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                              I've been with my CSA for 8 years and love, love, love it. (Common Harvest near Osceola). I totally support the idea that my weekly boxes rise and fall depending on weather and other conditions. That we share the bounty as well as the crop failures. Fortunately, nothing seems to kill kale, so there's always plenty of that :-)

                              There's a Japanese dish that's braised shredded carrots and burdock called kinpira gobo that makes good use of burdock root.

                        2. re: jennywinker

                          ...DON'T FRET MY CHOWHOUND FRIENDS

                          My intention was not to suggest more than a meal made up of local ingredients
                          and I thought it was presumed that basic salt would be exempt from the distance restrictions although those who wished to stick to a more demanding definition might try finding salt substitutes. As I indicated in brackets "nothing is written in stone" so utilize items outside the 25 mile limit, if you so desire.
                          This type of challenge does demand a certain amount of thinking and initiative and is therefore not for everyone so do feel free to bow out if you think my parameters are just too restrictive, paleez! I was simply looking for some interesting regional creations from a plethora of possibilities although those living in the more northerly climes, like my Canadian location, will no doubt find this assignment much more demanding.
                          Of course you are the CHOWHOUNDS, knowledgable,creative, resourceful, adept,
                          all knowing of the joys of pastoral living and nutritive ingredients, etc.so, who better to present this proposition to? ......Dig in!

                          Is someone out there willing to sponsor a FIRST PRIZE for the most creative submission that adhers nearest to the the original rules?

                          1. re: jennywinker

                            why give up tofu? a lot of local restaurants make their own, & you can buy it direct from them (or make your own if you're hardcore). i know for a fact that peninsula makes their own tofu.

                            1. re: soupkitten

                              I wish I could find a merchant locally that sold house-made tofu to home cooks, so that we could cook it up ourselves. The fresh stuff is so tender and delicate. Lovely. And certainly, with all of the soybeans grown in MN, there would be the possibility of having it be truly local.

                              I've toyed with the idea of making it myself (yeah, right)--I understand it's similar to making cheese. Not that I make my own cheese (there's so much wonderful local stuff out there already, no need to)--but, it can't be that hard, can it?


                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                If you find out how, let us know TDQ - I love the thought of home-made tofu...and the tofu skins. Grrrr. Dammit, now I'm hungry WHILE I'm cooking! ;-)

                                Maybe dreaming, but it sounds luscious, especially in the middle of soybean country.


                          2. I prefer to spend my time cooking, eating, and having fun. Such a "challenge" holds no interest for me.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: filth

                              I think the challenge is a good way to use some creativity and imagination. It's easy to go to the store and buy whatever looks delicious. It requires skill and a willingness to try new things to limit yourself to what's local and seasonal, even if it's just for one meal.

                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                Thanks for your support and enthusiasm for the project, Ruth
                                What local do you find yourself in?

                                1. re: fruglescot

                                  Like I said, it's easy in Northern California -- I went to the farmer's market Sunday, and there was a panoply of produce: winter greens (several varieties of kale, chard, spinach, etc.), broccoli, broccoli romanesco, cauliflower (white, orange and purple), kohlrabi (green and purple), rutabagas, turnips (red and white), beets (red, gold, chiogga), parsnips, winter squash (several varieties, including pumpkins), onions, garlic, shallots, celery, potatoes and carrots of different shapes, sizes and colors, lettuce (several varieties), mushrooms, etc. Not as much variety for fruit, but there were lots of different citrus, including oranges (navel, blood, caracara), pommelos, mandarin oranges/tangerines, and pomegranates, apples and persimmons. Granted, most of that was grown more than 25 miles (but less than 100 miles) from my house. But still, fresh from the farm, picked within a couple of days, not grown in a hothouse or shipped from Chile.

                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                    Ruth- I found your post because I was doing a search on chowhound for sources of broccoli romanesco, before starting a post.

                                    I love it, and the last head I was able to buy was in mid-December. I was afraid the season was over. Where have you seen it recently? Thanks much!

                              2. re: filth


                                Well, thank you, for bringing your point of view, so brilliantly succinct, to our attention.
                                Let it be known to all that,"FILTH", is relieved of any and all inclinations to
                                participate even though the assignment was designed to encompass all of those endeavours he/she aspires to.

                              3. How tight are your guidelines? I'm not sure I can find any locally sourced salt....

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: KTinNYC

                                  I never intended to make the guidelines that restrictive as to include salt.

                                  1. re: fruglescot

                                    A lot of kosher salt comes from the huge mile-deep mines under the Detroit river. Check your box for a Windsor or Detroit origin.

                                2. Not hard at all during the months that our local farmers market is running, May-Nov.

                                  In Eugene, Or we have lots of local producers including local vineyards. We shop the local farmers market for lot of things we don't grow ourselves. I buy some local wines but mostly use the vineyards around Dundee and Carlton for my wine supplies.

                                  During the winter it would be real difficult to eat total local unless you put lots of stuff up and did not want to eat very well.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: duck833

                                    I can obviously relate to what you are saying as I reside in a wintery local myself
                                    and I realize that this time of year is much more demanding to us folks but there are others out there, some rural and some more southerly that could rise to the challenge. Reach for that pioneer spirit of your ancestors.

                                    1. re: duck833

                                      Hey, another Eugenian here. We're really lucky in Oregon, because we can get so much good local food, and if we are organized (which I generally am not) we can put food by and eat largely locally year-round. I should probably put more thought to this, but off the top of my head, I could find local wine, cheese, chicken, milk, cold weather leafy greens, squash, flour, great yogurt.

                                      If I allow myself spices from afar, I'd make spaghetti squash with Moroccan spices (butter and squash local, squash grown by friends). Maybe chicken or fish for main course (friends own a great local fish market). Apple sauce on the side, canned from my grandma's apples, with no sugar (no local sugar, but lots of local honey-though you can definitely buy local apples this time of year still. Local potatoes-maybe baked or fried in butter with herbs I still have growing). As I write this out, it's definitely more of a chicken centric meal than fish, isn't it?

                                      Dessert would be hardest due to the sugar issue. I'm not much for baking with honey but I bet I could find a good honey cake recipe.

                                      Perhaps a good pinot gris to go with?

                                      And what the heck is with all these angry responses? It is bizarre to me that people feel angry or defensive or the need to attack about a simple challenge like this.

                                      1. re: duck833

                                        As another Oregonian (Portland) I'd agree that it's much more difficult to eat locally this time of year. We got our final CSA delivery in early December, and I'm still working through the winter squash and potatoes, but there's not a lot of local vegetables in the store this time of year.

                                        It's hard to dive into eating locally at this time of year--when you try to eat locally year-round you can preserve foods when you're getting too much of them, and then consume them now, when you get sick of kale and beets. In my refrigerator I still have a bunch of carrots, and in my freezer I have chopped basil, chopped celery, and a treasured few tomatoes. I'll actually have some of the basil tonight as pesto with smoked salmon and pasta.

                                        Oh, and fruglescot? Some of this find this challenge really interesting and fun, so thanks for posting.

                                        1. re: Nettie

                                          Nettie, I do appreciate that vote of support.

                                      2. Well, living in the middle of farm country in Northeastern Indiana, I guess I could eat beef, pork, or poulty and drink milk in January. There's over 10 inches of snow in my area, more in some nearby areas and not much grows in that stuff. I do have some canned tomatoes from the summer and some jalapenos, rosemary, and dill that I squirreled away.

                                        5 Replies
                                        1. re: alliedawn_98

                                          So a description of your proposed meal would be???

                                          1. re: fruglescot

                                            Well, I guess I could roast a chicken with rosemary and cook the tomatoes with some diced jalapenos as a side and drink milk to go with it. There's really not a lot to do with that unless you get ingredients from elsewhere.

                                            We had a garden this year with hopes of putting things in the freezer or canning for winter use. Unfortunately, we planted at a friends' house due to lack of space at home and they shared with everyone they knew. It was disappointing and after planing 20 tomato plants, I still had to buy several bushels from a local stand to can any.

                                            We do have dairys in the area but I don't know any that sell items there without shipping them someplace else. The local grocers do carry local brands of milk, sour cream, and cottage cheese. I don't recall seeing any local butters or cheeses. The dairy about a mile from me only milks the cows and transports the milk so no possiblity of buying from them.

                                            1. re: alliedawn_98

                                              If you have cream, you can make your own butter -- it's easy and fun (and delicious). I'm still thinking about what I could do. Since I live in Northern California but in the center of an urban area, making a meal from 100 miles would be easy, making one from 50 miles would still be fairly easy, but making one from 25 miles would be quite a bit more challenging. I'd have to think about it. And get out a map and a compass to follow that guideline strictly. Surpringly, getting beef might be the easiest, since there's a beef producer just the other side of the East Bay hills. Other things that are easy: honey, citrus, winter greens (although I didn't plant any chard this year, so I'd have to scout around -- I have a friend who supplies me with spinach, but she lives more than 25 (less than 50) miles away).

                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                I'd consider incidental trips with your friend--like one of the two of you were planning to visit anyway so the spinach just goes along for the ride and doesn't cost anything to transport--to fit into the idea of this. The same would go for things like honey. If I'm out in an area that produces honey or wine and I pick some up, it costs little to nothing additional to get it, even if it is over 25 miles. Adding on to a trip is probably one of the best ways to buy things.

                                                1. re: chowser

                                                  Looking at it that way just made it a whole lot easier, since I have regularly scheduled volunteer days at a park on the coast, near lots of farms and fishermen. Salmon, Dungeness crab, goat cheese and butter, artichokes, peas, heirloom dried beans, etc. would all fall into that sphere (which I had counted in my more than 25 but less than 50 calculations). I forgot wine, but it wouldn't be hard to find wine that is grown, vinted and bottled within 25 miles of my house.

                                        2. Well, I can do ground beef patties on the grill with roasted sweet potatoes in a lime vinaigrette and a salad (11 baby lettuces and herbs). Or a braised elk roast with mashed local potatoes and bitter greens. I could go on all day. I live in a college town in the midwest, so I imagine big-city dwellers might have even more options.

                                          6 Replies
                                          1. re: pikawicca

                                            pikawicca, Now thats what I was looking for. Thanks for your suggestions.

                                            1. re: pikawicca

                                              I'm curious to know if they grow "limes" in your area, ? If not another ingredient might have to substitute in the vinaigrette.

                                              1. re: pikawicca

                                                Big city dwellers almost certainly have fewer options than small city dwellers if the 25-mile limit is used, particularly if that is 25 miles by road as opposed to within a 25-mile radius. There is very little farmland and essentially no animal agriculture within a 25-mile radius of central Chicago or anywhere on the north side. Options within 25 miles would be larger if you were on the south side five to ten miles south of the Loop but still in the city limits. Loosen the margin to 100 mile radius and there are options galore at least seasonally.

                                                The situation is similar for Manhattan, San Francisco and most of Los Angeles.

                                                1. re: Eldon Kreider

                                                  Actually, you could do 25 miles pretty easily from San Francisco, since 25 miles north takes you into rural Marin County and 25 miles south takes you into rural San Mateo County. Not to mention 25 miles west takes you into prime fishing waters.

                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                    San Francisco is unique in having so much open space close to the urban core. I'm more appreciative of the work that the agricultural land trusts and open space trusts have done.

                                                    I've never shared the winter blues about vegetable supplies because Chinese brassicas are at their peak during rainy winter weather and I look forward to their best season. Now's the time to cook with gai lan, Shanghai cabbages, Chinese mustard greens, and choi sum. Also, pea shoots are at their best in winter too, I don't eat them other times of year even though they're now available year-round.

                                                  2. re: Eldon Kreider

                                                    Ok, Eldon if you need more radius take it.
                                                    As was first indicated (Not written in Stone)
                                                    Now let's hear what you can create from your region, please.

                                                    There has been so much quibbling about guidelines and so little in the way of real meal submissions.

                                                2. Come spring, I'll take you up on it. Right now, we have about 2- 2 1/2 metres of snow outside and it's -25C.

                                                  I could make mint tea... melt some snow in a pan and add some mint that's growing on my windowsill...

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: sailrox

                                                    Shall we send out the Saint Bernards with the rum collars? Where exactly are you?

                                                    Don't mean to be snide considering your possible wintery confinement but were you considering serving the mint tea before or as an after dinner refresher?

                                                    1. re: fruglescot

                                                      In fairness, it's a little more challenging because I eat kosher.

                                                      When I'm in Ottawa, it's a little easier, but not here in Northern Ontario. Unless I go out trapping. And trapping and hunting aren't kosher. Unless I'm dying, which I'm not (at last check, at least)

                                                      And after scouring my fridge, I realized I'm not quite as bad off with locally-sourced food as I thought I was. I still have some onions, potatoes, and garlic (albeit a little dried out) left from this summer. I froze some tomatoes, carrots and parsnips (not recommended, both go a little mushy) this summer to keep them from going bad.

                                                      So I suppose I could do a sort of roasted veggie dish, maybe a stew to disguise the mushiness of the carrots and parsnips. I'm not sure what I'd do for a fat in there (if I wanted to "braise" [term used lightly] the veggies beforehand), given that neither olives nor canola (nor any other oil Source *I* know of) is available within 25 miles.

                                                      And I was thinking of the mint tea as more of an afternoon tea break sort of thing. Can't do cookies or crackers with it, due to the lack of grain growth around here, but tea should hit the spot.

                                                      1. re: fruglescot

                                                        After poking around a bit, I foudn out that there's a sod farm near me... so I could use local materials to cook it too!

                                                    2. I'll go to my Asian market for local: mushrooms; duckling (head and feet included); local meats; cabbage; kimchi; several types of tofu; honeycomb tripe; pickerel or perch; pork belly; beef bones for stock; fresh noodles; root vegs; honey; Mac apples; miso. This is a sampling, after I return with my bounty I'll narrow it down to a single meal. But I have to say that the large Asian markets have a wider variety of local food than regular stores, and they sell fresh, with a constant turnover.

                                                      1. I get most of my meat and eggs from a farm that's just about 25 miles away, so that's easy. I get most of my dairy from a little further, but I think less than 50 miles. So that leaves vegetables and fruit...we have a farmer's market that runs all year, but not even everything from there is actually local. Oh - and flour! In Animal, Veg, Miracle, they find a local source for flour, but I have not been able to do that (maybe I haven't looked very hard). Dominos is right in town, so even if the sugar isn't local, it's processed locally? But honey is easy.

                                                        So I can definitely make scrambled eggs with local cheese and serve it on homemade toast.

                                                        I just recently made Chicken in a Pot with a lovely heritage chicken from the farm and mashed potatoes and collard greens from the market (with some bacon from the farm).

                                                        Winter is sad though. One of my resolutions is to seriously try to learn how to can this year!

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: pigtowner

                                                          Meat and Eggs from a farm about 25 miles away from Baltimore in which direction Pigtowner? And of course which farm?

                                                          1. re: wawajb

                                                            It's called Springfield Farms. It's in Sparks, MD, which is about 20 miles north of the city. They do all their own chickens (and rabbits I think), but they get some (all?) of the beef, pork and lamb from other farmers, so they might be a little farther away. They're open all year and supply many of the Baltimore restaurants with local, happy animal meats.

                                                        2. If I may -
                                                          I believe that the Slow Food Movement and the Locavore Movement are distinct from each other, sometimes with overlapping ideas and sensitivities, but distinct entities.

                                                          The second paragraph of the Slow Food Movement philosophy states, "Slow Food is good, clean and fair food. We believe that the food we eat should taste good; that it should be produced in a clean way that does not harm the environment, animal welfare or our health; and that food producers should receive fair compensation for their work."

                                                          A Locavore is someone whose diet consists of food grown or produced within an area most commonly bound by a 100-mile radius of their home. Locavores usually shun large supermarket chains, opting for farmer's markets and local gardens instead.

                                                          So, I believe that you are proposing a Locavore challenge, rather than a Slow Food challenge.

                                                          Probably most of us here are already involved in some small way in the Slow Food Movement just by the way we shop and prepare our meals. To be a true locavore is really difficult, especially for those of us who live in a climate which cannot sustain year round local produce.

                                                          But I suppose a "rose by any other name".......

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                            The SLOW FOOD movement started in Italy as a bit of a joke, (Rome I believe) as a counter measure to the opening of the first 'MacDo's' (FAST FOOD) on the piazza in that city. Later, as the idea was taken seriously, the movement evolved into a worldwide philosophy and created a mandate to protect and preserve the historic foods of different regions.

                                                          2. To answer the original question:

                                                            Braised pork chops from a pig from a nearby farm, served with oyster mushrooms foraged from the woods (we got 10 pounds last weekend)
                                                            Roasted sweet potatoes, stored from last summer's garden
                                                            Collard greens with leeks, both harvested last weekend in my garden

                                                            For anyone with the room, keep a large freezer. Mine is filled with local grass fed pork, lamb, and venison (the latter thanks to hunter friends), wild blackberries and mushrooms, and frozen goodies from the garden including green beans, okra, roasted peppers, summer squash, roasted pumpkin, basil pesto, etc. You can use your basement or crawl space as a root cellar for Irish and sweet potatoes. I also can tomatoes, beets, pickles and relishes. Is eating local a challenge? Yes. But if we don't start trying, things will never change.

                                                            11 Replies
                                                            1. re: TNExplorer

                                                              You sound like you have some real experience with eating this way. I just finally got a big freezer (unfortunately after the summer, so I couldn't save much produce this year). But in preparation for next year, do you have any recommendations for books that talk about the best ways to freeze produce so they last through the winter and are most useful? I make my own stock now and still haven't figured out the best way to store it, so far I just put it in various sizes of ziploc bags. And for root vegetables...how long do potatoes last and should I keep them in the fridge?

                                                              I've been looking, but I haven't seen any books that seem to cover all these kinds of questions in detail.

                                                              1. re: pigtowner

                                                                I think ziplock bags are a great way to store stock, since there's no waste space and you can fit the bags in any way. I think the best way to freeze fruits and vegetables is to prepare them (blanch the veggies, cut the fruits into pieces of a size to use easily, although some people say they freeze them whole -- you can definitely freeze berries whole), lay them out in a single layer on a cookie sheet to freeze, and then bag them after they're frozen.

                                                                Potatoes should not be kept in the fridge: it's too moist and they'll rot. Potatoes and other root vegetables should be kept in a cool, dark, dry place (thus, the term "root cellar"), and they'll keep for months.

                                                                Has anyone who lives in a cold climate tried keeping frozen foods in a cooler outside? It seems like a well-insulated cooler filled with frozen stuff would keep frozen even through the occasional warmish day as long as it went below freezing at night, and you'd save a ton of money on running a freezer when you don't really need to.

                                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                  Thanks Ruth. I guess it just takes some practice to get the hang of it. I'm a science grad student, so I just like to follow detailed protocols (ie. recipes/instructions) for everything. It's a problem :)

                                                                  I always wish I had a grandmother like MakingSense talks about - anyone who could help me learn to cook and can, etc.

                                                                  1. re: pigtowner

                                                                    My father thought it was a total riot that I canned and preserved food after watching his mother slave over the task for so many years. I did it for pleasure and because I really have always believed in local foods and regional cooking.
                                                                    The hardest thing is learning what is worthwhile. Some things freeze badly and you won't be happy with the result. If it just sits in the freezer until you finally pitch it, that's food and effort wasted. I make great jelly and preserves but we don't use very much so I don't waste my time or money. The years that I haven't raised my own tomatoes, I've bought them by the bushel for canning because the cost was reasonable that way. If you pay too much, you might as well buy good quality commercially canned ones.
                                                                    Start small with the easy things and then build on what you learn. It's science and common sense. Can and freeze what you already eat and cook with - not foo-foo things that you might never use. Do a few of those for fun but don't go wild.
                                                                    The old Ball Blue Book and the USDA guides are frumpy but they are still the best. And the advice that you can find on the internet from the extension services at universities is free and better than all the expensive books around. Maybe not glitzy but it will satisfy your little scientific soul.

                                                                  2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                    Ruth-- my family in msp used to keep frozen stuff in the garage in winter, in coolers and out-- it's now no longer possible here because the winter temp can frequently get above freezing. interestingly i'm hearing about a lot of local older people now getting serious food poisoning from trying to thriftily store food outside, and having the weather thaw & refreeze before the food's final consumption. their method which worked well 50 years ago is no longer safe for our area. we still use the weather as a temporary fridge or freezer (esp with holiday turkey) but have to "properly" store foods now!

                                                                    1. re: soupkitten

                                                                      Second this rec to not "rely" on outdoor temps. It can be great to use the Big Outdoor Fridge to cool down leftovers before refrigerating or freezing (and thus saving energy by not making your appliances work too hard to cool down the food), but don't use Nature as a matter of course unless your climate is cold enough consistently. And be careful with coolers - insulation works both ways: something you may leave in a cooler (acting as a refrigerator) doesn't necessarily freeze when the temps dip below freezing or even lower - monitor those items the same way you would as if they were in your kitchen fridge. "Outside" does not always mean "frozen" even with lower ambient temps.


                                                                  3. re: pigtowner

                                                                    USDA has lots of advice on canning and freezing.

                                                                    1. re: pigtowner

                                                                      Last July, Cook's Illustrated had an article on the best techniques for freezing various fruits and vegetables.

                                                                    2. re: TNExplorer

                                                                      This may not be a question of changing as much as changing back to the way things were not so very long ago and simply changing our mindsets. We've become very spoiled in just a few decades. Several friends and I were laughing at lunch recently with our adult children, who could scarcely believe us as we related that as late as the 60s and 70s in the US, food wasn't shipped to supermarkets as it is today from all over North America much less the world. Lettuce beyond iceberg was rare, fresh mushrooms were non-existent, seasonal truly meant seasonal, and there were things that we had never seen in fresh form until we traveled to the regions where they were grown. The price of eggs varied seasonally and Spring lamb actually was Spring lamb. There was no such thing as a strawberry at Christmas.

                                                                      Our grandmothers canned out of necessity and our own mothers were thrilled to purchased commercially-canned products to free them from that labor. Commercially-frozen produce was a miracle and the generation that embraced it has a hard time understanding the antipathy toward good quality frozen foods that are better than many of the home-frozen products that they put up for winter in their own freezers.

                                                                      I use some good quality canned and frozen products on my winter table, seeking out the ones that have few or no additives. I ask myself if this is the way my grandmother would have canned or frozen these peaches or green beans. Then I use them as she would have in Winter recipes.
                                                                      Although I do grow and can many of my own things, I can't spend two or three months putting up everything that will sustain me for winter. My grandmother had 14 children and I can't even imagine what she went through for the years she had to can everything for her family. She must have worshipped Del Monte and Swanson.

                                                                      1. re: MakingSense

                                                                        My Croatian grandmother also had 14 kids -- the older boys worked with the farm animals (mostly milk cows) and the older girls worked with the garden and food prep. No kids sat around while Mom did everything in the old days (even in the city.) I came from an upperly mobile family with just 2 kids, but thank goodness I got to visit and stay at farms on both sides of the family (including my Southern one) to learn about good, home grown food.

                                                                        For references on storing food, including freezing, Rodale Press is a good source. See www.rodalestore.com, especially "Preserving Summer's Bounty," which includes freezing, using the microwave for drying, etc. We're lucky that although we live in the city in an urban neighborhood, we spend our weekends on a farm with a large garden. Nearby neighbors sell us eggs, fresh goat cheese, and portions of grassfed pigs and cattle. We bought our first half of a pig last winter, and it's inspired us to make sausages and cured meats. So my husband is building us a real root cellar and we have the parts for a small smokehouse. If you had asked me in college if 30 years later I'd be canning, freezing, and rendering lard, I would have laughed. But boy, is it rewarding -- and delicious to eat!

                                                                      2. re: TNExplorer

                                                                        Thanks for your regional meal selection TNExplorer. Sounds exquisite.

                                                                      3. I'll bite--though I've got it easy--central Calif coast, pretty rural.

                                                                        Cheese and crackers--from Santa Margarita, Cambria, respectively.

                                                                        Dinosaur kale with herb garnish and Meyer lemon drizzle --from Los Osos and Tiber Canyon (SLO)

                                                                        Braised beef roast from San Simeon, roasted new potatoes and garlic--from Bakersfield and Arroyo Grande, salad greens and broccoli--from Arroyo Grande.

                                                                        Blood Orange custard--from Nipomo and SLO, sweetened with local honey.

                                                                        This is within 100 miles to include those great potatoes, and the cracker bread. Without those, it would be within 40 miles.

                                                                        1. I cook often with local cheeses and eggs, honey is also easy to come by. Lately I've been eating a lot of sweet potatoes and apples, both local. My local coop makes it easy since they post it right over the bin, if its local, where it is made, and if it is organic or conventional.

                                                                          The most local meals I have made are fritattas, featuring local eggs, dairy and vegetables. I also have some home - canned chili sauce that is all local as well.

                                                                          I think every little bit helps with the slow food challenge. My mom and I spent a great saturday canning chili sauce for the first time. I can't wait to do it again next year and make a double or triple batch.

                                                                          1. I'm also thinking about convincing my neighbors in my apartment building to convert a lot of our green space into garden space, versus just grass. Then we could eat food grown within feet of our apartments!

                                                                            1. Some posts discussing how to get people to adopt slow/local food eating have been moved over to the Not About Food board. If you're interested in discussing the logistics and politics of the movement rather than recipes and food, you can find that thread here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/477044

                                                                              We've left some off topic posts up, since we couldn't effectively split the sub-threads off, but please keep discussion on this board related to food and recipes and not general discussion of the slow/local food movements.

                                                                              1. Keeping it simple tonight with Mushrooom and Leek Soup with Thyme Cream (see www.epicurious.com). Using homemade chicken stock from chicken backs from a local grass-fed livestock farm (made and frozen in late November), leeks from my garden (survived 10 degrees last week, under straw mulch), wild oyster mushrooms foraged from the woods, cream from a small "artisanal" dairy just south of Nashville, and thyme from the garden. Adding homemade bread and local butter from a Memmonite couple -- talk about comfort food on a rainy night...

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: TNExplorer

                                                                                  Now that's what I call regional slow food.
                                                                                  Thanks for your submission, TNExplorer