Here we are, I believe on Week Eleven of the “Dark Days Challenge“, where over 100 of us from across the US, with one or two from Canada and the UK, are trying to see if we can make one meal a week using ingredients sourced from 150 miles or less from where we live. We have exceptions like spices, oils, chocolate and coffee. Plus, whatever we declared before we started. I will use locally produced items that may contain ingredients like flour or baking powder that aren’t local. Atwater’s bread is one of those sources.
So far, every week I have been able to source and use local items to make at least one meal. I finally reached the repetitive stage in this week, the eleventh one. I did an omelet for dinner, not much different than my frittata of a few weeks ago.
Finding a CSA that delivers all winter, and having numerous markets open year round, has made this fairly simple. Silver Spring, Tacoma Park and Dupont Circle all stay open year round. Zahradka farm provides home delivered veggies, fruit, meat, eggs, bread, and specially ordered items using an online weekly form. After picking which options you want for the 18 weeks, and pay in advance, we just sit back and take delivery weekly.
For this meal, the inspiration was a package of bacon from TLV Tree Farm in Glenelg, bought from Jamie this past year at the Fall Fest at the Howard County Conservancy in October and put away in my freezer with other goodies like a brisket and sausages. I defrosted it to use for Tuesday’s omelet and for Southern greens I will be making this weekend when my CSA arrives with collard greens. I admit, belonging to a CSA means you have to plan meals.
The baby Swiss cheese from a recent visit to South Mountain Creamery along with their milk and unsalted butter is going to be used for this 5 egg omelet. I am getting my biweekly delivery of eggs this coming weekend from Zahradka Farm CSA so I needed to use up some of the ones from last month. The spinach is from the CSA as well. The mushrooms I picked up at Boarman’s. They are labeled as from our favorite local source, Kennett Square PA. I get these mushrooms most of the spring and fall from the Sandy Spring CSA that delivers to Columbia and to the Conservancy.
Come this May will mark our second year with the cooperative of 70-80 organic farmers around Lancaster, including Mother Earth mushrooms. Until then, though, I am eating lots of greens, onions, potatoes, leeks, chard, cauliflower and broccoli. Eating seasonally is something many of us stopped doing when year round veggies from all over the world came into our chain supermarkets.
Taking this challenge has brought me back to simple cooking, fresh foods and decreased allergies. I am glad I did it.
On to the omelet, I cut up some bacon, browned it in the pan, added the veggies and mushrooms, then poured in the egg and milk mixture.
The finished product fell in pieces when I was trying to serve it so there are no dinner pictures.
We poured a glass of Linden Chardonnay from VA and buttered some some Atwater’s Bread, making this a completely local meal except for the salt and pepper.
A source that I have relied upon to tell me where to find local foods is the book Dishing Up Maryland by Lucie Snodgrass. I bought mine at Black Ankle vineyards last year, and I have seen it at Baugher’s Market. Besides the great recipes, there are pages of local resources in the back, a great place to find farms, artisans and markets in the state.