Local Food Week

July 1, 2010

Whitney

I know you’re all thinking to yourselves ‘I thought this was a local food YEAR not week’. As it turns out Virginia in January is not the best place and time to be eating local produce so for a while we were eating asparagus from Peru and bell peppers from California. Now that we’re well into the summer it’s possible to get lots of vegetables (and some fruit) from some combination of our garden, our CSA and farmers markets so we decided to challenge ourselves this week to only buy produce locally.

The first difficulty came in planning the meals. We have a sense of what has been available in our garden but it’s not always clear on what day or in what quantity the veggies will be available. There are similar difficulties with guessing what will be in our CSA bag and what will be for sale at the local (and small) farmers market. One way I handled the uncertainty this week was by trying to plan meals that had some flexibility in terms of produce (ie: stir fry, soup, and pizza) so we can exchange vegetables if necessary. It also seems pretty safe at the moment to plan for lots of summer squash and green beans.

Happily our CSA pickup and the Fluvanna Farmers Market both happen on Tuesday afternoons so this week Kristin, Lucy and I headed out together with our bags and list to collect our produce. Almost everything we didn’t get in our CSA was available at the farmers market (although it’s still a little early for red bell peppers). And we picked up some bratwurst and other local meats for our fourth of July gathering (which is rumored to include reading of historical texts, throwing tea in the pool, and beer).

Fruit seems harder to come by than vegetables in Virginia this time of year. So far we’ve been enjoying some blackberries and black raspberries from our garden, strawberries from a farm in Crozet, and melons from our CSA. This weekend we plan to visit an orchard near Charlottesville to do some peach picking. And if we’re all very lucky some of those peaches might end up in a cobbler or a pie.

Comments

Just out of curiosity, where do you draw the line on things to buy local? For instance, are you able to make your pizza dough out of local wheat flour, or find local vinegar for a salad dressing? Meats and produce I get, but some of the more processed and regional staples would seem very difficult.

Eric Spaeth — July 2, 2010

Eric-
You’re absolutely right – this week was about local produce, eggs, and (for the most part) meat. Grains and other foods are indeed difficult or impossible to find locally. We are buying bread from a local bakery, but I’m not sure about the origin on the ingredients.

Whitney — July 5, 2010