Sunday, March 7, 2010

A locavore reality check

Gene and I try our best to purchase from local businesses, whether it be supplies for the chickens or produce for us.

But we can always do better.

One thing I've realized of late is that while I put a ton of effort into canning, I'm not as good about using the things I've made. Or maybe I was impractical in my planning. Did I really need to make pickled roasted peppers? We're not eating them, so the answer is "no". Just because peaches are on sale doesn't mean that I need to rush out and make peach jam, which Gene doesn't even like. I'll be evaluating my canning priorities over the next growing season.

Last Friday we were in Poulsbo and needed lunch. We stumbled upon Central Market and were stunned that there was this awesome, Whole Foods-like grocery store.

In Poulsbo!

In the bakery there was this guy assembling packages of freshly made, whole wheat tortillas, which had to go home with us.
Central Market torillas
They were still warm. Yummmmmm.

Once back home, I raided our pantry to find that we had the makings for Spanish rice.
Home-canned tomatoes and beef broth:
A massive store-bought onion and one of the puny ones from my garden (can you even see it on the right?):
plus some rice, olive oil, garlic, and salt.

It tasted really good, despite being made with jasmine rice (the only white, long-grain rice I had in the house. I wondered why I don't make it more often, it's so simple. The green specks are parsley flakes, since I didn't have any fresh stuff.

I sauteed half of the massive onion with some red bell peppers I'd frozen last summer and the rest of the tomatoes.
Fajita veggies

I had some beef that I'd gotten on clearance at Safeway. Oh yeah, I bought it the day before we watched "Food, Inc.". Talk about feeling guilty! Oh well. There's nothing I could do about this particular piece, other than rub it down with garlic, salt, pepper, and cumin before giving it a good sear.
Fajita steaks, 2-5-10

On a whole, we're eating semi-locally. Most of the time, at least 2 ingredients of any given meal can be considered "local". Here's the ingredient break-down of Friday night's dinner:

  • WA STATE: Onion, tomatoes, beef broth

  • NOT LOCAL: Beef, rice, onion, red peppers, sour cream, lime

  • UNKNOWN: Garlic, tortillas

In conceptualizing this blog, however, I've realized that we're going to have to start putting our money where our mouths are. I felt guilty about preparing CAFO meat. I can't remember where the onion & garlic came from. Do the tortillas count as local just because they were made in Poulsbo? What about the sour cream from German-owned Trader Joe's? Who the heck knows where it's from.

Those are the types of questions I'll address in posts to come. I look forward to your thoughts about what's "local" and to hearing how you deal with it in your own life.

1 comment:

  1. You might be able to address your CAFO meat concern by finding a small local butcher shop. Some of them source their meats from local smaller farms. All you need to do is ask. Then again, there are these Artisanal butchers that only stock locally raised meats, but you will pay a premium to support the small farms. West Seattle's The Swinery comes to mind.

    Since you live in Tacoma, I don't know if or where you can find a farmers' market. That should simplify your search. Seattle is totally inundated with them, so I hope Tacoma has at least a few. What about The Tacoma Boys on 6th Ave? They might have what you're looking for. You can see them from Hwy 16, as it crosses over 6th Ave. If you miss the off-ramp, you can get off at the next exit and work your way back.

    Good luck!