Aug11

{obsess} A Local Adventure

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Hello Lovely Adventurer,

I am so excited to share with you my current obsession.

It all started a couple of years ago when I read this book… Plenty: The 100 mile diet, a year of local eating by Alisa Smith & J.B. Mackinnon… these two spent an entire year eating food sourced within 100 miles of their home in Vancouver.

closely followed by this book… the absorbing, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

… in which Barbara and her family participate in their own (not quite as strict) local eating challenge also has this wonderful website to compliment the book.  It is full of lovely links and resources.

And so, a mad fantasy/dream was born within me that one day I would become a Locavore.

Of course, it does help that I’ve had a huge crush on this man, for about a decade. (Don’t worry Barry knows all about it!)

Visiting River Cottage HQ and participating in a course, or perhaps having dinner… is on my *List* of things to do.

…oh, I’ve digressed… so this little fantasy has been slowly percolating for several years, and then, last week, this arrived in my mailbox…

A CSA less than 10 minutes drive from our house!  For six months this summer Shane and Ben from Seven Springs Farm will be growing, and providing the local community with, all sorts of vegetable goodies – from beetroot and carrots to fennel and tomatillos…

And, now my excitement has been reborn, and I have talked myself and my family into a new adventure for this summer… behold:

I love the idea of eating locally, because

  1. I can’t deny that I love gimmicks and six months of eating within a 150 mile radius of home is a bit of a gimmick… that makes the whole thing seem superficial but it’s really not, because by eating locally we’re going to be…
  2. … supporting the local economy.  I don’t think that anyone can deny that the last few years have been pretty tough.  The global recession is scary.  As a family that relies on our small business to support us, we have felt the effects first hand… and so the idea of supporting local growers and makers by intentionally contributing in this way is an exciting prospect…
  3. …Also, I’ve become a little jaded and complacent.  I’m one of those shoppers who still buys the tasteless tomatoes in the middle of winter, because I feel like tomato.  Forget about the fact that they don’t actually taste that great. I’ve become reliant on this absurd abundance of lacklustre produce… I want to move past that.  To appreciate seasonality and variety.  I am looking forward to enforced creativity – to many new adventures in the kitchen!
  4. Finally, I think it is a wonderful thing to be present and intentional with our lives.  Participating in this ‘Local Adventure’ for the summer is going to provide lots of intentional and magical moments for us as a family.  I am already imagining the fun we’ll have with our girls as we trek here and there looking for new, local foods to try… not to mention the adventures we’ll have in the kitchen and then at the dining table!

The reality is, we could not live in a more abundant area for pursuing this Local Eating Experiment.

Apart from a little nervousness around my ability to source local flour (because, truthfully, I can’t imagine a life without bread and pasta!), we have fresh fruit and vegetable, meat, dairy, seafood… all on our doorstep.

So I have a few kinks to iron out before I share any more plans with you… I’m going to set myself some guidelines (I’m thinking of giving myself a couple of free passes – maybe one meal a week when we eat out without any guilt, and perhaps a few spices in my pantry will get an amnesty too… I’m also wondering as to how strict I will be on the little ones’ participation – any thoughts are welcome!) but I will be all set to go when the CSA begins on November 1st!

Until then, here’s a few interesting links if you fancy finding out a little more.

New Zealand Resources

International Links

  • Slow Food International… not purely a resource on local eating, but a movement founded ‘to counter the rise of fast food and fast life, the disappearance of local food traditions and people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from, how it tastes and how our food choices affect the rest of the world.’
  • Local Harvest is a great resource for Americans interested in local eating
  • Similar to Local Harvest, Big Barn is a great local eating resource for Brits.
  • Eat the Seasons is a cool site that gives UK residents a week by week look at what is available and in season.

Pure Inspiration

  •  Michael Pollan is an American author who has explored many of the conundrums of modern food systems in several of his books.
  • If you haven’t already seen it, then Food Inc is an interesting documentary about the industrialisation and globalisation of our food supply.

If you have any ideas or resources to help me in my quest I’d love to hear all about them… and if you’re keen to participate in your own Local Eating Adventure, let me know – it’ll be fun to share the experience!

(PS… the links to the each of the books mentioned are affiliate links… see here for more details)

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9 Responses to “{obsess} A Local Adventure”

  1. August 31, 2011 at 7:58 am, Scribbles said:

    If you can’t find locally milled flour (although given your location, trying the organic stores might be a go), my recommendation would be that you go with locally manufactured products. When working for a food company we would have people ring up and ask why our nut butters were not made with New Zealand peanuts… uh, because New Zealand doesn’t grow them in any large quantities. Sometimes you just need to do the best you can and supporting small local manufacturers is a good start.

    Reply

    • September 02, 2011 at 12:13 am, Hana said:

      Oh – that’s a good idea. The more I think about it the more I think that at least for the kids, I will want a source of flour… if I can’t find a local source, I will go for locally milled! Thanks for the tip!

      …And yes, I think I might be surprised by the amount of ingredients that are imported – my girls will be pretty devastated when I have to break it to them that peanut butter is out for the summer! H xo

      Reply

  2. August 31, 2011 at 4:58 pm, Ihilani said:

    Oooh what a fabulous idea! I hope you succeed! I’ve been trying recently to be more conscious about where our food comes from, but you take to a whole new level. I can’t wait to read about the local treats you discover!

    Reply

    • September 02, 2011 at 12:18 am, Hana said:

      Thanks Ihilani! Hopefully this little adventure will give me a kickstart into being a lot more intentional for the future. I think because we have access to such an abundance of food and in a one-stop shop, it is easy to not think of where and how it came to be. I hope that this experiment will help me really enjoy and appreciate the process of preparing food and eating! H xo

      Reply

  3. September 01, 2011 at 4:05 am, Erin said:

    om gah everything looks so good. I’ve always wanted to join a CSA but sometimes they’re a bit too expensive for me. I love the idea of local grown food and it’s slowly becoming a movement here…slow I know but hopefully slow means it will take deep roots. Everything from that river video looks delicious and it almost makes me unable to wait for winter when i can start making soup for 90% of my meals.

    Reply

    • September 02, 2011 at 12:28 am, Hana said:

      Hi Erin! When I first read the cost of joining the CSA I almost fell of my chair! And then I thought about it a bit and broke it down into how much that was per week and compared it to how much I currently spend at the greengrocers it seemed a lot more reasonable – but I agree paying it in one big chunk as most CSAs require is a bit of an investment!

      I love what you say about slow = deep roots. Let’s hope so! H xo

      PS… I adore soups also – it may just be my favourite thing about winter… although I am so ready for the summer in my corner of the world!!

      Reply

  4. September 02, 2011 at 5:25 pm, Kat said:

    These guys are good, you can search on their site for NZ made
    http://www.naturallyorganic.co.nz

    Reply

    • September 02, 2011 at 8:25 pm, Hana said:

      Oh cool – thanks so much Kat – it’s so exciting to have all these resources! Bring on November! H xo

      Reply

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