The Last Local Supper?

So, this is it–the end of the 2006 Eat Local Challenge.

Does this mean that I am finished with the topic of eating locally?

Are you kidding? I mean, look at the beautiful produce I had to work with for tonight’s supper: Siam Queen Thai basil, fresh shiitake mushrooms, garlic scapes and look–is that? Could it be? Yes! It is fresh, local asparagus! The season wasn’t over after all, and look–this batch is PURPLE!

When I can get so much beautiful food, why should I ever go back to eating grocery store plastic produce? Why should I pay money for fresh vegetables and fruits that are no longer fresh, and that probably have fewer nutrients in them? Why should I eat strawberries that have been bred to be huge, bright red, hard as rocks, and smell good, but which have no discernable flavor by the time they reach Ohio?

The answer is clear and simple: I shouldn’t.

And I don’t intend to.

Yeah, I will still be buying bananas at Krogers, and some onions and potatoes now and again. Avocados are not exactly thick on the ground here in Appalachian Ohio, so I will pick some of those up, too. And if I can get my hands on properly ripe mangoes (like the luscious organic ones from the local health food store, The Farmacy I picked up last week), I’ll be all over those, as well as seasonal pomegranates.

But for every fruit and vegetable that grows here in Ohio: you can bet I will be buying those in their season, when they are at thier peak of ripeness, when they are so fresh that you can smell the earth and sun on them.

I see no reason to go back, and more importantly, my tastebuds can discern no reason to return to grocery store dependance.

So, you can look forward to more posts about eating locally, more profiles of the local food scene here in Athens, more updates on what is in season and fresh at any given time, more book reviews from The Locavore’s Bookshelf, and more recipes utilizing the bounty of the fecund farmlands that dot Athens county.

Tune in tomorrow, when I will write about what I cooked tonight with all of those lovely ingredients pictured above.

Until then, let me know what you would have made with those pretties–I am curious to see what other folks would have come up with.


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  1. watch out – the purple asparagus turns green once cooked 🙁

    Comment by sam — May 31, 2006 #

  2. I know, Sam. The way to keep it from turning all the way, or to get some of the reddish purple color back is to use acidic ingredients in the cooking.

    But, it will never be perfectly purple like it is raw.

    I’ll be talking about that in tomorrow’s post.

    Comment by Barbara — May 31, 2006 #

  3. I’m a self-taught raw foods chef, so my recipe would be entirely different from yours, I’d suspect! 🙂

    I would marinate the mushrooms and the tips of the asparagus in nama shoyu with lime juice and the garlic scapes. (Leaving them in there overnight.) Then I would create a sauce using the marinade by adding almond butter and chopped serranos, and balancing the salt/lime/garlic. I would toss the marinated mushrooms and asparagus in the sauce, and then place them on a almond/flax “pizza crust” that I have on hand. This would create my “pizza”, which I would garnish with diced fresh pineapple, shredded carrots, mung bean sprouts, juiliened red bell pepper and a good pinch of the thai basil, sliced in a chiffonade.

    And it would be tasty. And I wish I had all of these things on hand to make this dish for dinner! 🙂 I’ll have to put it together for the cafe.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

    Comment by starrrie — June 1, 2006 #

  4. Wow!! I’ve never seen purple asparagus before, only white and green stuff.

    I have been trying to eat locally sourced seasonal ingredients too, the other day I made spiced spring lamb with sprouting broccoli and champ potatoes. It was really tasty!

    Comment by Pamela — June 1, 2006 #

  5. Now that I think about it, that’s been one big side effect of signing up for the CSA veggie boxes — even in the winter, I’m not buying much in the way of produce, especially anything that’d come in the veggie box. I do still go to the grocery store for fruit for my son (restricted diet, and most of the fruit from the CSA is stuff he can’t eat), ginger, and onions and garlic once the CSA supplies run out, but that’s about it.

    Comment by Castiron — June 1, 2006 #

  6. I’m curious what you do for produce in winter. I’d like to eat more local produce, but our farmer’s market is only in summer and I’m hesitant about the co-ops around here (expensive, and only one of them allows you to pick your food). Do you just freeze/can/otherwise preserve food for winter?

    Comment by Mel — June 1, 2006 #

  7. Ginger I still buy at the store, Castiron. It can only be grown easily in heated greenhouses, and most of the folks who run greenhouses here use passive solar or water pipes to heat, so it is just impractical to grow real tropical stuff here. Onions, garlic and potatoes I buy when the folks at the farmer’s market run out, so I am not totally local, not yet.

    Mel–for winter, I can still buy at the farmer’s market. Folks raise lettuces and greens and herbs here year round in greenhouses, and sell their storage potatoes and winter squash, carrots, turnips and apples all winter long, too. It is hard to go completely local in the winter on vegetables, but we try.

    I did freeze the following last year, and I would like to try my hand at canning tomatoes during the glut this year. I froze pesto, various chiles–of which I am running out of Thai chiles, but still have way too many jalapenos and habeneros, so I know which to freeze more of, and which to cut back on, tomatoes, and homemade pasta sauce and salsa.

    I might do some jams and jellies this year, though I can buy those year round at the farmer’s market, too.

    Comment by Barbara — June 2, 2006 #

  8. Starrie–that sounds pretty good! I probably would never do it that way, but it still sounds good to me.

    Pamela–eating local food retrains your palate–look out! Once you start getting used to the intense flavors of real, honest whole foods that are truly fresh, it is hard to go back to the old way of shopping and eating through the grocery store. Nothing tastes as good anymore!

    Champ potatoes–are those the ones that are mashed with leeks and butter?

    Comment by Barbara — June 2, 2006 #

  9. Phoo. I’ll just have to see if I can find another alternative, I guess (greenhouses don’t seem to be common around here).

    Comment by Mel — June 2, 2006 #

  10. I freeze ginger. I food-save it and it freezes beautifully – it retains it’s lovely colour and then when I need some, I just take it out of the freezer and grate it. Works like a charm.

    Comment by Grace Dykstra — July 25, 2007 #

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