Steve and I have decided to participate in an 'eating local' challenge put on by Laura at one of my favorite blogs - (not so)Urban Hennery. The idea is to cook one meal a week from SOLE (sustainable, organic, local, ethical) ingredients and write about it on our blog. We had intended to participate last year but had trouble finding local meat (the butcher shop 2 blocks from our house carries beef from Idaho....none from California....huh?). We could've eaten vegetarian for one day a week but our vegetarian meals are smoothies, pancakes, and soups....I figured that would get monotonous. I was getting pretty discouraged about the lack of meat choices until two weeks ago when we stopped by the Farmers Market between soccer games. Among the booths selling fresh local produce, local olive oil (yea!) and various craft vendors (daughter's favorite was the 'design your own' dog collar booth) we met a rancher and his wife from Springville (50 miles) who had only recently started selling grass-fed beef at the market. Yippee Yahoo!!!
(Yes, we actually do get excited about stuff like this:)
So, we perused their offerings and came away with ground beef and sweet Italian style sausage. We tried hamburgers first (starting easy, the beef has less fat and cooking takes getting used to) and I made spaghetti sauce. We also took home a pamphlet and will look into the possibility of purchasing a quarter of a steer to get a bit of a discount.
The first batch of hamburgers was shared with my brother and his girlfriend (hi Anne) and were quite good. Definitely a different taste (not gamey exactly, but different). On advice I got from the ranchers wife, I mixed some olive oil into the meat for added fat (tends to dry out otherwise). This Saturday, we bought more beef, more sausage, and a London Broil. The challenge officially starts next week but I decided to do a test run.
The Menu -
Grass-fed local Hamburgers on Homemade buns
Lettuce from the market and tomato from the garden
(onion from the store)
Home-made relish, mustard(CA) and Ketsup (who knows?)
Sweet potato fries (homegrown potatoes fried in local olive oil)
Strawberries (Watsonville - 188miles)
Wine from Santa Rosa (not local but still Ca)
It's amazing home much actually goes into a meal that I don't even think about. I thought we were 100% local until we added on the condiments and the wine. And even the strawberries are outside the 150 mile rule; this may be harder than we thought! But we will be learning alot about where our food comes from along the way and I think it will be fun, interesting ....and worthwhile.