August Flows into September: Will You Still Eat Locally?

Well, I meant to talk a bit about the end of the August Local Eating Challenge yesterday, but life, in the form of a possibly broken foot, intervened. I took a tumble in the street yesterday, and have since been keeping my foot on ice, and elevated to no avail. Yes, I will be going to the doctor tomorrow, to have it x-rayed.

But on to more interesting things than my silly foot and its peculiarities.

Yesterday was the last day of August, so technically, the August Local Eating Challenge is at an end.

However, since I try all year around to obtain as much of my family’s food from local sources, my adventures in local eating will continue. I am pretty excited by some of the discoveries I made over the month, from the local tofu to the Holmes County, Ohio dairy products, so I am pretty psyched to continue my food sleuthing over the next season.
Also, as the photograph above attests, the Athens Farmer’s Market is starting to fill with the bounty of late summer and early autumn: tomatillos, onions, apples, greens, sweet potatoes, serrano chiles, elephant garlic, apples, pears and bitter melons. Yes, bitter melons!

Hopefully, this evening we will have chicken with bitter melon, made from mostly local ingredients. That is, if I am not in the ER having my foot x-rayed. Zak is being insistent that I go today.

At any rate, I’ll continue the series, “The Locavore’s Bookshelf;” I could only read so many books in one month, and I have several more titles I would like to feature. I never got around to doing my in-depth articles on the Athens Farmer’s Market, or on local businesses and farmers; there were too many back to school errands and paperwork bits to carry out for me to do as much writing as I wanted. That is no matter–I will do them as I come to them, throughout the year.

I still am curious to see if I can get a hold of locally grown and ground flour, and I would like to know if anyone around here grows corn that I can treat with lime and grind into my own masa. As the year turns, I will find these things out and report on them.

My feeling is simple–eating local is not just something that I strive to do for one month out of the year. It is what I do, as naturally as breathing. Sure, it would be simpler if I just did all of our shopping at the local Krogers, but it wouldn’t be as much of an adventure, nor would dinner taste as good, nor would I trust it to be as healthy and nutritious as the foods that I find produced locally.

Besides, I feel good every time I visit the farmer’s market and “spend the time of day” as they say in the South, with the farmers and vendors. With every visit to the North Market in Columbus, I strengthen the bonds I have with the farmers who raise the beef, pork, goat and lamb we eat. It is good to create community in this way–it feels good knowing the people you buy your food from. It is fun to hear about what is going on in their lives and have them ask after you and your kids.

Human connections are as necessary for us to live and thrive as food is; eating locally satisfies both of those hungers.

I hope that everyone who participated in this challenge will go on to try and eat more local foods not just for one month out of the year, but for the rest of their lives, and in doing so, become a little closer to the folks who grow and produce that food. Anything we do that helps strengthen our bonds of kinship and community to other humans is a blessing.

Anyway, thanks for following along with me on my local foods journey–and I hope that in the months to come, I can uncover some more local food gems to share with you.


RSS feed for comments on this post.

  1. Barbara – best wishes for you and your foot! Let us know what happens.

    Comment by Jennifer Maiser — September 1, 2005 #

  2. This post has been removed by the author.

    Comment by AK — September 1, 2005 #

  3. Barbara – Eating locally comes naturally for me too so I expect to continue adding the challenge logo to vegetables that are locally grown, if only to monitor how often that actually happens, even with the best of intentions!

    Comment by AK — September 1, 2005 #

  4. Barbara–You -have- been inspiring to me when it comes to eating local food. I need to do more of it and I’m well aware but we’re starting to become addicts to our local farmers markets. 🙂 And I’m really starting to get into Heirloom fruits and veggies!

    Comment by Sarah — September 1, 2005 #

  5. Jennifer–I am about to leave to go get an x-ray. It is better, but I am still hobbling around like an old lady, so I guess I had better find out what is up.

    I will definately let folks know when I know something.

    AK and Sarah–good for you all on eating locally! We had the bitter melons last night and they were the best we’ve ever eaten. They were crisp, and juicy and with a lot of snap and flavor. The ones we bought in Asian markets were just probably not as fresh–they were spongier in texture and not crisp at all. These were phenominal. I may have to grow them myself next year!

    Sarah, I am glad to know that I have inspired you. That is the best way to learn to eat locally–hear about it, go to a farmer’s market, try the food and taste the difference.

    Heirloom varieties are something I really should write about. I have some heirloom honey pears in my kitchen right now, in fact….

    Comment by Barbara Fisher — September 2, 2005 #

  6. I got some local-grown apples last week at the produce stand and a few days later my husband said they were the best he had ever tasted and where did I get them?

    As well, I engaged in debate at my local grove’s conversation evening
    ( )
    and made a telling point with the help of Billie, the local organic beef whom I eat and thank.

    Finally, I am revising my essay about the 8-fold year (making it small-book-sized) and am including eating locally in the activities section for the Fall Harvest Holiday.

    Honor to you!

    Comment by wwjudith — September 2, 2005 #

  7. Barbara, like AK and you mentioned, eating locally comes naturally to me too, not because of any altruistic reasons, in case of me only because they taste so much better. Wherever we move, I always search for local, decent produce.
    I am little bit of envious of you though, you are able to purchase karelas and small brinjals and they are very fresh too. I wish I could get those here in my area.

    Comment by Indira — September 2, 2005 #

  8. Welcome back, Indira!

    If you get to know a farmer at your local farmer’s market, you might be able to get them to grow such vegetables. If they need a source for seeds, I know of one company that specializes in seeds for Asian vegetables, which you could pass on to your farmer. IF there is a significant Asian population where you are–the farmer could make some good money by growing specialty vegetables for that market.

    I was thrilled to see the karela–I had heard rumor that this farmer grew them, but hadn’t seen them until this week, and they were the best I have ever had–I will have to get more tomorrow! They were fantastic!

    The brinjal are also wonderful. I have made baigan bartha with them that is to die for–as well as the Lebanese baba ganoush.

    This same farmer had what we call snake gourd in English–I think you would call it chichinda? Or, chirchira. I might get one next week and cook it stuffed with lamb and spices.

    Comment by Barbara Fisher — September 2, 2005 #

  9. Judith–I think that adding eating seasonally to your eight-fold year essay is a great idea–anything to get the Pagans more in tune with actually living lightly with the Earth is fine with me!

    Hooked by the taste of apples! It worked with Zak, too, a couple of years ago when he tasted his first MacIntosh apple fresh from the tree. I thought he would vibrate apart.

    Taste is the main reason why I eat locally, too–all of the other reasons are secondary, and I think it is the biggest and best reason to eat that way. It certainly hooks the most converts. And that is fine. Food should taste good, and naturally so–not because it is processed with a bunch of added salt and fat and artificial flavors. It should just taste good, period.

    As it is.

    And local food almost always tastes 100 percent better than stuff shipped in from hundreds of miles away.

    And now, with gasoline prices rising even faster than I predicted–well–local food may well end up to be cheaper faster than I thought.

    Comment by Barbara Fisher — September 2, 2005 #

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Powered by WordPress. Graphics by Zak Kramer.
Design update by Daniel Trout.
Entries and comments feeds.