There is no time like the present to head to the farmer’s market or your local food grocer and buy yourself a basket full of local delicacies. Food will not get better than it is right now – so take full advantage! Thick slices of tomato, served with nothing more than a little salt and pepper; wild salmon or sablefish, served with roasted fennel and eggplant; local blueberries swirled into cold, creamy yogurt…need I go on?
Eating local in August is hardly a challenge…so why not take the Going Local! Challenge, in support of Growing Chefs?
Your mission is deliciously simple. Sign up on the Growing Chefs! website; ask friends, family and coworkers to donate to your campaign and then simply do your best to eat as close to 100 miles as possible from August 19 – 25.
With so many amazing options this month, it might be hard to narrow down what to put on your plate. To help you on your way, we have created a 2 day sample meal plan that incorporates traditional menu items with a little twist to allow you to enjoy your favorites while sticking to a 100 mile diet.
The meal ideas are very flexible, make substitutions based on what looks best at the store or farmer’s market. If you want to learn more about what is in season in the lower mainland, check out the Get Local Seasonal Food Chart. Every fruit or vegetable used below can also be substituted with anything you find at your local Farmers market, so feel free to be unique and create your very own meals. The fresh produce used in this plan follows the get local BC seasonal chart.
Get Local, Folks (aka start feasting!)
Use a selection of fresh berries, yogurt, honey, a splash of milk and a few cubes of ice for a cold, crisp beverage. To make the smoothie more sweet and less thick, try using some BC melons, in season this month.
Snack– a handful of raw hazelnuts and dried fruit. Pick up Canadian hazelnuts at the farmers market near you. You can dry your own market-fresh fruit on low in the oven or with a dehydrator or pick up dried fruit from the market.
Tuna sandwich and salad
Use canned tuna from Estevan Tuna or cook any fresh fish finds and mix with fresh chopped herbs. Spread between two pieces of 100 mile bread from a bread affair. For added crunch, chop up celery and mix or a favourite crisp vegetable from your local farmers market. You may also want to add cheese from your local dairy producer and sour cream can be used in place of mayonnaise.
A salad can be made using your favourite greens and for a dressing, drizzle on vinaigrette made from local vinegar and hazelnut oil (Canadian hazelnut). For more flavour, add fresh herbs.
Snack– Hard-boiled egg and local crackers. Eggs can be found at many farms in Maple Ridge and Abbotsford. Bradner Farms and Rabbit River Farms are two brands found in grocery stores. Local crackers from Nichol fine foods are a great choice, or try making homemade crackers using ground wheat berries, egg whites and some hazelnuts mixed up and baked until crisp.
Grilled chicken burgers, corn on the cob, and roasted potatoes
Grill up some local chicken breasts and serve on crispy, thick cut 100 mile bread. Add a few slices of local bacon, cheese and fresh vegetables. For a chicken marinade, mix some honey, cilantro leaves and garlic and brush onto chicken. Boil up corn ears and rub on fresh butter mixed with chopped chives.
Toast and hazelnut butter
Toast up some 100 mile bread and spread hazelnut butter from Poplar Grove Arbour. You can make fresh hazelnut butter yourself by taking hazelnuts and grinding them up in a high-powered blender. They release their natural oils which creates a thick delicious butter. Pour up a glass of fresh milk and a cup of local berries to complete the meal.
Fresh vegetables and dip
Make a dip from sour cream and fresh dill and serve with fresh-cut veggies.
Sauté or grill up fresh vegetables, along with strips of chicken or beef. Using fresh herbs like cilantro and garlic will give a Thai-inspired taste. Spoon your sauté into leaves of lettuce and roll up. These can be pre-made for an on-the-go lunch, all you need to do is roll up the lettuce wraps right before your about to enjoy them.
A bowl of creamy Greek yogurt with one apple grated into it.
Meatballs and Panzanella salad
Mixing local ground beef with breadcrumbs from 100 mile bread, eggs and some of your favorite fresh herbs, create delicious meatballs. Tomatoes are in season and can be made into a rich tomato sauce, with a splash of local wine and your choice of cheese.
Serve meatballs alongside a Panzanella salad. This salad uses a twist on the traditional recipe. Toast up your 100 mile bread, cube and toss in hazelnut oil. Combine your homemade croutons with local vinegar, basil leaves, chopped up crisp peppers, cucumber and tomatoes. Add your choice of cheese, or mozzarella if you find it.
For a treat, make homemade meringues: whip local egg whites, mix with honey and bake. Serve with fresh macerated berries and drizzle with honey and crisp hazelnuts
Hungry yet? Happy Challenge, everyone!