In November I signed on to prepare at least one meal a week for sixteen weeks using locally sourced items. Locally being defined as within 150 miles of your home. The Dark Days Challenge is the Title. Over 100 people signed up. About 30-40 of us made it through the challenge.
Highlights to me of my meals included learning to make sweet potato gnocchi, making roasted cornmeal polenta, and using turnips far more than I ever did in the past.
These ingredients produced this soup. Jerusalem artichokes, leeks, apples and turnips. Thick, rich and satisfying.
The South Region, which included participants from MD, VA, NC, SC and TX, was one of the most active regions. Not surprising because it is fairly easy to source local items year round here. The northern participants struggled more.
This last week had a theme for us. Make breakfast. So far, I did eggs one day, but I intend to finish the challenge before Sunday with pancakes and sausage patties. Not going to go out without putting forth some real effort. Eggs are too easy.
In Howard County, we are lucky to have a year round CSA deliver. We also have access to meats and dairy from local farmers. We can also get produce from Amish markets in the area, and three year round farmer’s markets in Tacoma Park, Silver Spring and Dupont Circle. A Saturday morning visit to Silver Spring yielded enough fresh goodness, plus my Friday CSA delivery, to make Giant or Safeway superfluous in my life. Like the week shown below.
Friday Delivery CSA – beets, onion, sweet potatoes, celery, microgreens, broccoli, and Angus ground beef.
Saturday morning at the market – including chorizo, bread, mustard, high tunnel grown tomatoes, bibb lettuce, and not pictured, fresh basil.
Those of us who garden had put aside some frozen or canned items to use. I ran out of almost everything in my freezer, with one pint of turkey stock left. I used my last pickles in egg salad a few weeks ago. I still have half a jar of concord grape jelly from my neighbor, and enough frozen veggie items to make one more batch of veggie stock.
It made me think about what to do in the future. I intend to use Larriland Farms and Butler’s Orchards quite a bit this year to augment my garden and freeze/can items to use. I will also make good use of the summer CSA and farmer’s markets to get items to put away.
Why, you ask? Because, for me, eating fresh foods keeps my allergies at bay. It also limits my exposure to GMO vegetables, and to meats full of antibiotics and hormones. I feel better when I do this. Besides, serving fresh food to my friends and husband, prepared by me with love, is one of the things I enjoy best about being retired. Yum, TLV Farm kielbasa with CSA veggies, Canela bread from Boarman’s, and Black Ankle Syrah. Goodness, from Howard County and the surrounding area. Doesn’t get much better.