9.10.2013

Local food week: 1 week of entirely local food dinners

A challenge! We decided to see if we could eat only local foods for dinner for a whole week.

To follow up to my post last week about our CSA share and recent whole lamb purchase I'd like to share what we've been doing with all those delicious veggies and grassfed meat. We decided to do a local food challenge, just for a week, and focused mostly on dinners. (Our lunches are almost always left overs of dinner, anyway, and breakfast is normally just Bulletproof Coffee (with Kerrygold grassfed butter from Ireland and MCT oil, not local!) and sometimes homemade bone broth from local beef, pork, lamb, and chicken bones.

It was challenging to look at all the foods we eat and actually ask, where did they come from? We knew the main ingredients came from local sources (CSA, meat shares) but there were a lot of things we had to basically not count because it would be practically impossible to make the recipes we wanted without using some things that aren't grown in Oregon.

Things that we didn't count:
  • Salt (we could have used Oregon salt like Jacobsen's, but it's spendy! Our salt is pink Mediterranean sea salt.)
  • Pepper
  • Other spices like chili powder, cumin, paprika, etc.
  • Olive oil, but we used it sparingly
  • Lemons and limes
We used lard we've rendered ourselves instead of olive oil or butter where possible. It's a very stable fat and is delicious! And ours is from grassfed cows so it's full of vitamins A, D, and K.


So here goes, [a little more than] 1 week of Paleo dinners of entirely local foods.

Sunday night:

Slow cooker beef roast with beets (from The Paleo Slow Cooker)
Green beans

Monday night:

Ground lamb with leeks and bell peppers, topped with fresh basil from our porch
Lightly cooked zucchini

Tuesday night:

Lemon rosemary broiled salmon (from Practical Paleo)

Wednesday night:

Cilantro and lime marinated round steak
Heirloom and white mashed potatoes (not by-the-book "Paleo," but I tolerate them well and eat them occasionally when they come in our CSA)
Steamed spinach from our front porch

Thursday night:

Lamb T-bones with rosemary
Purslane salad with grilled zucchini and cherry tomatoes (we grilled the zucchini in the oven in lard and sea salt--amazing!)

Friday night:

Fajita beef, cooked tomatillo salsa, and pico de gallo (recipes for all in this post)
Lightly sautéed zucchini

We did it!


All in all it was a really interesting experiment and put a lot of things in perspective. Our modern lifestyles are really dependent on the existence of a global food trade. Tropical fruits and spices are available all year. We can buy butter and cheese from Ireland, coffee from Guatemala, and rice from Asia, and these aren't even considered "exotic" purchases. Trying to eat as close to home as possible for a week really brought this thought to the forefront of our minds and put a lot of things in perspective. 

I started to think, if I only had access to the foods grown in Oregon, what would I use instead of olive or coconut oil? Lard works for cooking most things. But salad dressings? Most likely it would have to be fat from animals or nuts, but the idea of going without those things I'm used to having sounds really hard. Unfortunately, until they come up with carbon neutral freight, the environmental cost of bringing all these faraway foods to our grocery stores is, in my opinion, too high. I know that bananas are delicious, but I think wanting fresh ones, in January, in the Pacific Northwest is a bit ridiculous. And, having access to such sugary foods all year 'round isn't good for my insulin, anyway. *Steps off soapbox*

But this local food experiment was a great one to get us thinking about these things. And it's been delicious, easy, and fun with our CSA and meat share purchases. It would be a little harder in the winter, though!

Have you ever tried a local food challenge? How did you do it?

6 comments:

  1. Hey, isn't a week 7 days? :P I have to agree, it is much easier (if I allow for seasonings/spices) in the summer when there is more variety. Winter is just way too hard. However, I also try to remind myself that is why food south of the equator is so much more packed with flavor, while us northerners historically have had to be more circumspect based on what we can grow year round... Great experiment! Are you going to try this one week every season?

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  2. Such a cool idea- these all sound great.

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  3. Doing it one week for every season would be a great challenge. For the winter I'd probably just eat potatoes and beef all week haha. But seriously, That's a great challenge!

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  4. Thanks a lot! It was great inspiration for continuing to find new and exciting local things to eat. Also, rosemary and basil are delicious and they grow everywhere!

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