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Eat Local Challenge

This week’s posts are inspired by my fall CSA box, a trip to a local apple orchard, a rogue pumpkin planting from my youngest son, and the Ohio Eat Local challenge.
*Yes, there’s a theme in there. Really. I promise.

From the Ohio Department of Agriculture:

Eat Local Challenge, October 2-8: The Ohio Department of Agriculture challenges you to eat local! This week, plan and prepare one meal every day using foods that are made, grown or raised in Ohio.

Regular readers of this blog know that I try to eat local as much as possible.* In my neck of the woods (Northeastern Ohio), this is a great time of year to eat local. We have the tail end of the summer’s vegetables, and fall vegetables are starting to come in. In my last CSA box, I had the last of the year’s tomatoes, and the first winter squash, leeks, chard, and broccoli. I do live in Northeastern Ohio. Eating local in the middle of February means meat and a lot of root vegetables. I can’t bring myself to give up on fruit and green vegetables at that time of year. I have enough problems with Seasonal Affective Disorder as it is. That’s why I’m a regular attendee at my local winter farmers market…but that’s a discussion for another day.

So, I’m taking on the Ohio Eat Local Challenge. What do I have up my sleeve for a week’s worth of local meals? Meat is easy – we know meat here in Ohio. I can get good, local chicken, beef, pork, lamb, and even buffalo. (I’m still looking for local duck.) Dairy? Cheese? Eggs? No problem. Apple season is just starting, so fruit is taken care of. And as I mentioned above, fall produce is coming in strong; with my CSA box I’ll be good for the week.
And I guess I’ll have to drink Great Lakes beer all week.  And maybe throw in a glass of Harpersfield Pinot Noir for variety.  Oh, the sacrifices I have to make.

The hard part is the starch. This is the perfect time of year for local potatoes. But…the kids just won’t eat potatoes. Unless they are french fries. This baffles me.  When I was a kid, I lived for mashed potatoes with a big pat of melting butter in the middle.
The butter had to be pushed into the mashed potatoes, so it didn’t leak.  I would try to eat from the middle, so the butter was trapped in the potatoes for as long as possible.

What can I do?  I’m going to try to get some local flour at the farmers market this weekend, so I can make bread or pizza. But after that, I’m kind of at a loss. Pasta? Other grains? I know we can grow wheat and grains here in Ohio, but I don’t know of a source for locally grown versions.
Forget about rice and corn tortillas, two of my kids favorite things to eat. We’re too far north to grow rice locally. I haven’t found an ohio grown version of Masa Harina. Actually, I haven’t found an American version; when I buy Masa Harina, I trust the experts, and buy Mexican brands.
**And no, I can’t count the Great Lakes beer as my starch.  At least, not for the kids…

Can you take on an Eat Local Challenge in your neck of the woods? One meal, every day, made entirely of food grown in your state? Know of any good sources for Ohio grown grains, for my own Eat Local Challenge? Let me know in the comments.

Special Thanks:
To the people who keep me in locally grown food:
Crown Point CSA
Cuyahoga Valley Conservancy Farmers Market
Brunty Farms (for my eggs and chicken)
Acme Fresh Market
Mustard Seed Market
West Point Market

Related Posts: 
Tarte Tatin with Puff Pastry (coming Tuesday)
Pumpkin and Squash Soup (coming Thursday)

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  1. Hi Mike-

    Alex from Mud Run Farm in Navarre has wheat berries and spelt berries; rolled oats; flour; and also puffed wheat and spelt. There is also Ohio City Pasta, but I’m not sure they use Ohio grains. Alex won’t be there on the 9th, but he’ll be back the following week.
    Oh! Also, if you’re headed to Wooster, Broken Rocks Cafe has whole wheat bread that they make using wheat from OARDC. (I recommend dinner there, too- quite good!) You can also stop by Local Roots market while you are there, for a bountiful selection of local products.

  2. I am a little south, but we have a local corn meal producer.

    Also, if you call a local organic baker, he may be able to help with something local. I called mine once and he was thrilled to pass on some tips

    How about a walnut pesto?

  3. growmyown says

    Great post. We pretty much eat local all year. I can our veggies for the “off season”. I willingly take on the challenge. It is interesting, when you think of our varied American diet, how much of what we eat is neither local or in-season. Even if we can’t totally switch over to totally local it is good to think about where things come from and how we can make adjustments to our diet to cut down on the miles on our meals.

  4. Check out Plum Creek Farm for local duck, in addition to chicken, turkey, pheasant, and other birds. They can be found at the NUFM Shaker Square Market every Saturday or you can go directly to the farm in Valley City (Medina County). They supply a lot of area restaurants including Flying Fig & Lolita. Here’s their facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/?ref=logo#!/profile.php?id=1495294800&ref=ts

    As someone else suggested, you can get fresh pasta from Ohio City Pasta. I doubt they use local grains, but it’s great pasta regardless and made locally. If you shop at the Westside Market on Monday’s they offer but 1 pound, get one free.

  5. @Beth, thank you for the tips from the expert! I’ll have to check out Mud Run Farm, and Local Roots.

    @growmyown, Great! Yes, it’s a big switch changing to a local diet if you’re used to the grocery store having everything, all the time. But it tastes so much better…

    @AYOTG: Walnut pesto sounds delicious!

    @LTCatH: Thank you for the lead on some local duck! I’m a bit south, so I don’t get to the West Side Market much…I need to make a trip up there one of these weekends.

  6. The Baklava Queen says

    I’ll echo what Beth said — check out Local Roots Market in Wooster. You’ll find a pretty good selection of local grains from Stutzman Farms: whole wheat flour, spelt flour, wheat and kamut and spelt berries, rolled oats, and sometimes even rye or sorghum.

    I use their wheat and spelt and rye flours in my baked goods (which I sell at Local Roots) and can confirm that they are good.

    Oh, and if you are up for a challenge, try making homemade pasta from spelt flour. It’s actually pretty easy to make broad noodles or even homemade ravioli without a fancy machine, and the taste is worth it!

  7. @Baklava Queen:

    Thanks! I keep thinking I should do some homemade pasta; I made some in a cooking class I took years ago, and was amazed at how easy it is. But I never seem to think of it when I’m planning meals. Thank you for putting the idea back in my head!

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