How Focusing on the Local Changes How You Eat

We have been participating in the Dark Day Challenge this year. This has meant that once a week we are supposed to prepare an entire meal that follows the SOLE requirements of this challenge – Sustainable, Organic, Local, and Ethical. We have been focused on the “Local” component of this equation, but have certainly added “Organic” where possible. But, as I was thinking about what we prepared and ate this week, I realized that the the choices that we have made throughout this challenge have filtered deeply into our daily meals.

I did not take any pictures this week, because what we ate was what we ate. And what we ate often fit the SOLE mantra. So on Saturday afternoon, my husband and I strolled over to The Local Market and purchased British Bangers from Stachowski’s, local bacon, goat cheese from Cherry Glen, green beans and spinach, as well as bread and coffee roasted locally at Caffe Amouri. Oh, and my DH also picked up some pickled asparagus from McCutcheon’s. All this meant that dinner was local without even trying hard — bangers, sweet potato fries (from the farmer’s market week before last), and green beans.  Then on Sunday morning, we enjoyed our local bacon and waffles made with King Arthur flour and eggs from South Mountain Creamery (delivered to our house every Thursday) accompanied by locally roasted coffee and local milk, and we devoured the delicious cheese from Cherry Glen (Monacy Silver) and leftover sausages as a snack in the afternoon.  No thinking required. We just ate what was in the house.

And this, I think, is where we all aspire to get. To the place where the choices we make when we shop ensure that the choices we (and the choices our children) make when we eat every day support those SOLE principles.

What choices are you making to move you in the direction of eating SOLE?


12 Responses to “How Focusing on the Local Changes How You Eat”

  1. Pete also noticed the other night that our meal was entirely local. We had hamburgers on the grill (local beef bought from a farmer at the market), on buns from a local bakery, with cheese from a local cheesemaker, and salad of greens, carrots and radishes, all from the farmer’s market. Even our beer was local 🙂 The only things that weren’t local were the ketchup, mustard, and pickles! We did not do this on purpose — it just happened without trying hard.

    • Isn’t it great how easy it is to make that happen?! And local beer is a great addition to an already great local meal! Hope the Picky Eater enjoyed her burger.

  2. Yes – this is gradually happening in our house too. For me, I think it’s been primarily about changing where we shop. If produce comes mainly from farmers’ market or CSA, well, that limits the selection to the local stuff. And shopping at the stores that are good about carrying (and calling attention to) local products gets me stocking more of them in the house. Gradually we’re making little switches here and there. Sometimes more local, sometimes more sustainable or ethical …

    • I totally agree. I love my local Harris Teeter, but I rarely buy fresh food from there anymore — and I think I’m okay with that! And all of those little changes add up to big differences.

  3. i’ve found that by doing the DD challenge mindfully each week– we’ve increased the number of “90% local” meals we eat– much of what we eat is now fairly local, without a whole lot of “work” being involved in the planning. I feel good about it– especially since it’s March and I know things will only be getting less grim from here on out (well, in another month or so…)

    • Isn’t it amazing how challenges change behavior? The Zero Waste challenge I found out from your post changed our day-to-day behavior — the coffee grounds are religiously composted by the Eldest, for example! And I am really hopeful that all of the great advice and direction from Tamar Adler’s An Everlasting Meal will help tremendously with waste! And now the DD challenge. BTW, it was 84 degrees here today, and it will be in the 70s and 80s next week too!!! I think summer is rapidly approaching down South.

  4. We are doing the same. If it all isn’t local, almost all of it is organic. Only the tiniest exceptions like spices and oils and pastas are coming from the pantry. As for bread, I am using more and more of Atwater’s, because of the source of their grain.

    Dinner last night was a DD meal, but then tonight, leftover soup made last week with organic beans, local ham hocks, my frozen turkey stock, CSA onions and my herbs. And tomorrow, local butcher’s steak, CSA potatoes and Brussels sprouts, and salad from my bedroom window box of greens.

    • Yes on the Atwater’s! Grain continues to be a challenge, as well as legumes, for local products.

      And, thanks for sharing your dinners with us! I love seeing what you get in your box, and what you make with what you get.

  5. Liz – what a great post on your changes and what you ate this past week. When anyone decides to look for and eat local foods, there is always a transition period (with any change) and changing our habits take time and planning at first and then, after a while, it seems to be second nature. It is so neat to hear about your changes and also the changes in those who commented. I am with Annie where almost everything is organic for us and a lot of it is local. Still stuck on the grains & legumes. Every meal has many local components, I just get stuck on the bread and pasta – I make it, but it still isn’t local. I use organic ingredients and making it eliminated boxes and packaging.

  6. This is fantastic! I love your whole blog… very glad we found each other 🙂 Going to join your journey!


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