Welcome to The May Eat Local Challenge!

Ah, look at that pretty salad, with greens grown in Athens county, and edible flowers–they are violas–from my own porchboxes!

Admittedly, the cheese is chevre from Vermont, which Bry brought over to share (waste not, want not!), and the dressing is made from Italian balsamic vinegar and olive oil, though it is sweetened with Athens county honey.

I hear that there is a goat cheese producer somewhere near Akron, but I have not found confirmation of that yet. If anyone knows of them, leave a comment or an email to set me on the right trail. I can get Ohio-made Amish cheeses and other artisanal cheeses, but chevre is one of my favorites, so that is something I am seeking out. (There are plenty of goat herds here in Athens, but no one sells the milk or any cheeses at the farmer’s market. If I could get my hands on some of the milk, I would make my very own cheese, but thus far, no luck.)

Anyway, welcome to the May Eat Local Challenge, brought to you by the Locavores, and Jen of Life Begins at Thirty!

This year, there are a few new features to the challenge; rather than Jen trying to keep up with everyone’s adventures on her personal blog, she started a group-written blog that is all about the Eat Local Challenge, and which will feature posts and articles from all over the net on topics related to eating local, through the month of May, and beyond. I will be contributing to this blog, as well as writing up my usual posts here, so stay tuned!

Also, as I mentioned before, there is an online book discussion group starting up where people can get together and read books on the issues of sustainability and eating locally, and then discuss them in an open forum. I will be co-moderating this group with Jeanne from World on a Plate, and the first book we are going to be looking at is the hot-off-the-presses title from Michael Pollan, The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals. I am reading it currently, and it well-written and thought-provoking.

After Pollan’s book, we hope to take on fiction and nonfiction both, with emphasis on books relating to food and politics.

If you are interested in joining the discussion group, sign up here via Yahoogroups.

And if you want to read the first chapter of Pollan’s book, look here.

As for me–this week at Tigers & Strawberries, look for my first eating local recipe for Rustic Italian Sausage, Potato and Kale Soup seasoned with green garlic and ramps, a book review and the long-promised continuation of my popular post, Stir Fry Technique: Ten Steps to Better Wok Cookery. This first continuation in a series of two or three posts, will focus on stir frying chicken, with a slant towards eating locally. And–by popular demand–every step will be illustrated with (hopefully) lovely photographs! (The second in the series will be the long-promised step-by-step guide to stir-frying tofu–using locally made tofu!)

And who knows–in the midst of it all, there will be other recipes, some essays, discussions of foraging in the wild, and probably a picture or two of our local felines, whom we do not plan to eat anytime in the near future.


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  1. About the goat cheese — are you thinking of R-Haven Farm in New London, possibly? The link is to a listing of local farms; they’re about halfway down. I’ve had some of their cheese before (purchased from the West Side Market), and despite having no great love for goat cheese, thought it was quite good.

    Looks like it would be a bit of a trek for you, but probably no more than Akron would be. Hope that helps!

    Comment by Meghan — May 1, 2006 #

  2. That would the farm, Meghan–it has to be. I saw them mentioned in an article talking about Akron’s West Point Market’s “goat fest” where a “local producer of chevre” brought some of their goats and there was goat cheese, and goat milk and goat soap and all of that for goatfest goers to enjoy.

    But I couldn’t find the name of the farm!

    Thank you, Meghan, thank you!

    I see they also appear at the Cleveland farmer’s markets and the one in Oberlin. Maybe we could organize a trip up to Oberlin on a market day sometime and pick up cheese….Zak went to college there, and we were thinking of showing off the college to Morganna.

    It is a good excuse to have local goat cheese, too.

    Comment by Barbara — May 2, 2006 #

  3. Barbara,

    This is sort of an off shoot comment, but I just read the 10 steps to stir-frys. I feel my skills are already improving, can’t wait for the picutre version. I read some of the comments, but not all 44 🙁 So I am hoping you have not already answered this question.

    My husband and I love our stir-frys with peanuts, cashews, almonds, whatever nut we seem to have on hand. So if you are adding nuts when do they go in? As garnish just at the very end, maybe but I like to have them coated with the sauce. So would we finish cooking and stir in the nuts, then plate and serve or should they cook a little to warm up and realease all the flavorful nut oils?

    – Kerrie

    Comment by KCatGU — May 2, 2006 #

  4. Kerrie–I will be posting the further adventures of the “Ten Steps” tomorrow: this one will be amply illustrated and specifically about stir frying chicken.

    Chicken was one of the most commonly asked about foods in those comments–how to stir fry it so it doesn’t dry out.

    So, that is why I am doing on that is specific to chicken.

    Later on this month will come another very well-illustrated version on tofu.

    We are still working on the video….but it will not be here anytime soon.

    As for your question about nuts–if you want them to remain crunchy, you put them in the wok near the end, and just give them a couple of stirs in the sauce to coat them and get them well mixed.

    If you cook them any longer, they will become chewy–not crunchy and most people don’t like that texture.

    Comment by Barbara — May 2, 2006 #

  5. I’ve never been to the Oberlin farmer’s market, but I do feel like I should say that if you haven’t been to the West Side Market in Cleveland, you should consider giving that a go, as well. It’s a pretty amazing place.

    Comment by Meghan — May 2, 2006 #

  6. I’m looking forward to the tofu post! I worked in a wholefood co-op a long time ago, and tried and tried to like tofu, but couldn’t take to it. A few months ago, I had a taste of a tofu, pork and chili dish at a Chinese restaurant (it wasn’t on the menu but asked for by a collegue who’s experienced in Chinese food and a regular at this restaurant). I was very suprised at how good it tasted, so I’d love to learn better ways with tofu…

    Comment by Steph — May 5, 2006 #

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