The Growing Chefs Local Food Challenge is just 6 days away and Heather and I are in full preparatory mode. Like any healthy eating regime, a little bit of planning is always necessary to ensure you don’t end up crazy busy, stressed and giving up on your goals (and face down in a pizza pie). So when it comes to eating as close to 100 miles (170 kilometres if you please) as possible, you might expect that you have to do your homework.
Summer is a great time to go local; not only are the markets filled with gorgeous local produce but it is the perfect time of year to stuff yourself with salads – healthy and easily local. From Greek to spinach to Cobb, you could rotate salads for a whole week and never get bored. If you eat meat or fish, there is no simpler meal than the meat/veg/potato combo. That trusty trio can provide a bounty of meal ideas. I am, however, a vegetarian. Most of the food one serves a vegetarian is a grain/cheese/bean/veg combination. This poses a slight issue for going 100 mile. We aren’t exactly known as the breadbasket or pulse capital of Canada around here.
I am happy to eat salads galore. Delighted with some potatoes (most likely alongside salad or broiled with some nice cheese). But a whole week without grain? I know it can be done…but I think I will feel a bit more confident if I have a back up plan.
As Heather and I started to look into local grain, we realized that while we have come a long way since the pre-100 mile diet days, local grain is still not everywhere. On the island a couple of weekends ago, I tried to convince the gals at The Roost to sell me some of their homegrown grain but to no avail. Heather made a beeline into a farm on Westham Island when she saw that they were growing barley. But that barley was destined for more important customers: the animals.
We were delighted to find the Flour Peddler at the Vancouver Farmers Market. He’s got Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island and Okanagan Grains that we can turn into tasty scones for breakfasts on the run. We have been going back and forth about making our own sourdough bread but the challenge is only 6 days away and we haven’t gotten around to making a starter. So we are going to need another source for bread. Thank goodness for Bread Affair! They have got our procrastinating butts covered with their 100 mile loaf, replete with local hazelnuts and blueberries. Sometimes the lazy bird gets the delicious worm.
And since our minds were turned to grains, Heather and I also took the opportunity to join Urban Grains CSA, which is locally grown wheat from Cedar Isle Farm in Agassiz. While it won’t help us out next week, all winter long we are going to have locally grown, organic whole grain flour for baking. We hope to get out there to take some photos around harvest time so stay tuned!
Get Local, Folks!
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