Sunday, October 11, 2009

This is it! Day 100 is here!

Wow! This is day 100 of our 100 day, 100-mile challenge. For the last week or 2, both my husband and I have been getting a lot of 'are you going to back to eating the way you did before now?'. Since doing this for the last 4+ months, it seems like kind of a weird thing to ask. After learning about all of the local families and business around here working hard to make healthy food, after moving towards buying more organic and fair trade food instead of conventionally produced products, I don't think we could just go back to shopping 90-100% supermarket food.

As I'm writing this, I'm sipping from a large glass of apple cider from Martin's Family Fruit Farm, and thinking there's no way I'm going back to no name apple juice again. Or non-local cheddar, or non-organic milk. Sure, there will be some things that we'll go back to buying that we didn't all summer, but even those are a little different. When I ventured into the grocery store yesterday to pick up some things for this week (the first time I'd done an actual 'grocery shop' rather than running in to buy toilet paper or something), my cart definitely looked different. Instead of cereal, we're sticking to our Oak Manor oatmeal and maple syrup, (although I bought organic ground flax seeds and cinnamon for it). I did buy canned beans (we never did get the hang of cooking the dried ones properly), and some other things- but they were mostly organic, with no added weird unpronounceable things on the label. There was no produce, since we're sticking with our well-loved Kitchener Market-Bailey's Local Foods- Herrle's triumvirate for as long as possible.

So, no- we're not going back to what we ate before. Because once you've had fresh, natural food- how can you go back?

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Harvest Home

With October here and a definite chill in the air, you can say without a doubt that autumn is here. Fall's my favourite season by far- no boots & heavy coats yet, but sweaters and warm socks get to come out of the closet. I've also found that this is the time when my taste buds turn from sweet, lighter foods towards warm and savoury fare. Pumpkin, squash, sweet potatoes and apples- yum!

All week as I've been finishing off the last of my late summer borscht, I've been craving something more thick and creamy, so today I (and my very helpful assistant Rick), made 2 batches of yummy soup. Our house now smells delicious thanks to the black bean soup and squash, sweet potato and apple soups which are cooling on the stove. Tomorrow's plan is to add some crock pot chilli as well with the last of our Stemmler's ground beef. Yep, we're still eating our way through our 50lb box of freezer meat we bought right before the challenge started. Still probably 3 or so weeks worth of meat still too.

Speaking of yummy fall treats, I had to make a recommendation for my new favourite snack- toast & apple butter with pumpkin from Hergott's Cider Mill which I just bought recently at Seven Shores. It's so good!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Things I can't wait to eat:

Seafood- I had salmon for the first time at a wedding this weekend, and I totally remembered how much I like fish! Sure, there's local lake fish around, but with the husband allergic it's a lot of effort & expense to get it now. Although, the absolute best fish I ever had was on a boat coming back from the Skelligs in Ireland- it'd been swimming around 20mins before it was grilled on the boat. Now that's local!

Pasta- with parmesan cheese (we can get the cheese locally but it's pretty cost prohibitive). Mmmmm. I dream about this sometimes. We did make a giant batch of sauce and had some with spaghetti squash, but it isn't the same.

Fluffy bread- we just can't make it like the bakeries do, and while we have gotten the 100 mile loaf from Golden Harvest, it's just too expensive to buy it weekly. City Cafe's sourdough is calling my name!

Not planning every meal over a week in advance. Yeah, that'd be nice! Also looking forward to being able to follow a recipe without making substitutions for non-local ingredients.

Ok, so the above sounds like once thanksgiving comes around we're going to be going back to normal which isn't our plan. I'd just be nice to be able to choose quality non-local ingredients from time to time. I have to say that after concentrating on everything we eat for the last 12 or so weeks I don't think mindless eating will be possible (for some reason, fast food ads have been grossing me out which isn't a bad thing), but man- a banana would be really good!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Trying new things is part of what this is all about!

Like tomatillos. To be honest, until a couple of weeks ago I'd never even heard of them, but when they showed up as an option to order from Bailey's after a friend mentioned them when we were camping, I figured they'd be worth a try.

So today I made Salsa Verde to bring to my book club tonight. You can find the recipe here. So yummy! Even my husband who despises cilantro gave it the green light! (pun completely intended). I did have to get non-local tortilla chips to go with it, but the tomatillos, cilantro, jalapenos, and onions were local. I omitted some of the sweetner, and threw in a (local) red pepper I'd roasted along with the tomatillos. I think it worked out ok. Guess we'll see what the gals at book club think tonight!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The seasons, they are a changing...

One of the things I like most about this journey of seasonal 100-mile eating definitely has to be the transitions. From strawberries (yum!), garlic scapes (yuck), and asparagus at the beginning, on to lettuce and peaches, we're now getting clear signs that autumn is just around the corner.

Squash, apples, and pumpkins are now making an appearance, along with tomatoes, zucchini, cucumber and corn. I have to say- is there anything that says the end of summer more than sliced tomatoes and cucumber on the dinner table? A little salt and voila! August is here.

With the beautiful weather we're having now, I can't say I'm quite ready for my apple, sweet potato and squash soup, but this weekend does involve making a GIANT batch of tomato sauce, as well as some zucchini muffins. I think in a couple of weeks when it gets cooler I'll break out the soup recipes. I already have lots of borscht and leek soup in the freezer, but fall does also call for some heartier fare.

I can't believe how quickly time flies! Just over a month to go of the challenge, and thanksgiving will be here before we know it. I'm already planning our end of challenge feast: I'm thinking turkey with stuffing, candied sweet potatoes (with maple syrup), mashed potatoes, roast carrots, green beans, maybe? and of course some pumpkin pie! I've already found a recipe for the pastry which calls for a mix of butter & oil instead of the shortening I usually use. Mmmmm, this is going to be a yummy fall!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Drinks, anyone?

Some hope for people missing beer because the local stuff doesn't have local hops. Link

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Halfway there!

Wow- time flies, doesn't it? I have to say that so far, the 100-mile challenge has been an adventure to say the least. There have been some ups and downs, but I'd say that overall it's been a good experience.

Right now I'm listening to my husband make 2 loaves of 100-mi. sourdough in the kitchen. We've come a long way from the first breadmaker loaf (aka the brick!)

I can't honestly say that we've done as well as I'd hoped (on average, we're doing around 70% local), which is less than the original all local except fair trade coffee & chocolate, but we're still in the game at least. We're still making our own bread, buying 100% local veggies, meat and dairy, and trying our best to eat as local as possible whenever we can.

I think the hardest things for us has been eating out- we did go for chinese food more than was good for us before the challenge, and although we've resisted the siren song of Lai Lai's more than not, there have been a couple of times when we couldn't resist. Another problem has been at work- when I don't bring enough food for lunch (which has happened from time to time), or people ask me to go for coffee, it's hard to resist grabbing something. Luckily, the dining hall carries fair trade coffee, and since switching, I have to say Tim's just isn't tasty anymore. Candy is another problem as I have a coworker who likes to wander the halls on afternoons offering people licorice and other sweets. So hard to resist! The candy issue got so bad that I'm essentially in day 3 of sugar-detox. It was a stressful 2 weeks and there were skittles involved, what can I say? It's tough though, because with sugar, once I start eating it, I feel horrible for a week or so afterwards unless I eat more.

This afternoon we went to Herrle's to pick up some fruit and vegs (incuding corn which they grow on site). Yum! Let's hope the corn and nectarines in my house will help fight off the skittles cravings at least until I go camping next weekend!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

100 Mile Bread Experiences: Guest Post

Hi everyone. I'm Shara's husband, Rick, and I've been asked to do a guest post about my bread making experiences. In mid-July I had taken a bread making workshop at a local bakery, the Golden Hearth. The workshop was totally amazing! Organized by Rachel and Michael at the HealingPathCentre, we learned how to make our own sourdough starter and bread as well as a 90% rye which has lasts a bit longer than other breads.

I do almost no baking (until now), and I knew nothing about bread before taking the workshop. I had seen my grandmother bake bread years ago I think, that's about it. I had always wondered what sourdough was... now I know it's just a mixture of flour and water! There's a lot of chemistry involved, but basically, the sour part comes from the fermentation of the naturally occurring yeast that's already in the air and on the flour itself. Sourdough was chosen because it's 100% local since it doesn't require added yeast. It takes longer to prepare because the process of letting the dough rise or proof takes longer without adding yeast.

At the end of the two day workshop we came away with two loaves of sourdough bread and two loaves of 90% rye. We also were given the recipes so we can make our own sourdough from scratch (equal parts flour and water - 100 grams of each) but the baker at Golden Hearth was nice enough to give us a small sample of his sourdough starter culture to start off our own sourdough bread in the future. Although you can store the culture in the fridge until you're ready to prep it for making bread, he's used the same starter for more than 3 years (you have to feed it more flour and water each day- kind of like having a pet!).

My own bread making experiences since the workshop have been pretty successful. After eating all the bread that I came home with, I made one loaf of sourdough on my own and it was really good! I was SO nervous... I had put the salt into the mixture at the wrong time so I thought we'd end up with a brick instead of a loaf. Then I was worried I'd fed the starter wrong and we'd end up with a brick. Then I was worried I would under-knead it and we'd end up with a brick! Well, we didn't end up with a brick. I was very happy when it came out of the oven, I felt like I was the proud father of this loaf of bread!

It's been a few weeks since that incredible day, and I've just finished working on my second loaf. This time I waited to put the salt in at the right time. I'm still a bit nervous about how it'll turn out. The dough is in the fridge for the night, and I'll proof it out in room temperature for about 2 hours tomorrow, and then into the oven it goes! I'll ask Shara to let you know how it turns out :)

If you have any bread making tips or even horror stories, I'd like to hear them. Please post a comment below!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Millbank Adventures

Since we were out of cheese, we decided to take a road trip to Millbank to visit the Millbank Cheese Outlet, and to stop off at Anna Mae's (also in Millbank) for some of their yummy tarts which we had first come across at Herrle's. Turns out it's not a long drive at all- 40mins or so. Anna Mae's was PACKED, so we just ducked in, got our baked goods (butter tarts for Rick, raspberry ones for me, plus some cheese buns that looked too good to pass up), then went straight to the cheese store. The cheese place was the total opposite of Anna Mae's- not a single car in the parking lot and only us and the girl behind the counter in the store. We got some nice cheese though (and local!), some monterrey jack, cheddar, and brick with hot pepper flakes. Yummy in sandwiches (especially since Rick's been making his sourdough), omlettes, and for snacking!

We also went to Stemmler's on the way back to get some more ham for sandwiches and bacon (Rick's been craving it since we were there a month ago picking up our freezer order). We also peeked into Martin's Family Fruit Farm- looks like a neat place, but we already had enough peaches & berries in the fridge at home. Something to keep in mind when we want apples in the fall though. With the weather my thoughts are starting to turn towards fall with it's yummy apples, squash & pumpkins!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Foccacia Recipe

Here's the foccacia recipe I used. I made the dough in the breadmaker to save time, but if you're making it by hand, mix the water and yeast together first, then about 10 mins later add the other ingredients. Once the ingredients are mixed, knead until it's elastic (5-7 mins or so), then let rise in a covered bowl for 30 mins. Then follow this recipe starting at step 3.

1.5 cups warm water
1tbsp honey
2tbsp canola oil (the cold-pressed oil I got from Bailey's is awesome- frankly, it's nicer and more flavourful than a lot of grocery store olive oils out there, pricey though)
1.5tsp salt
4.5 cups flour
2tsp active dry yeast (I consider this part of the 99% rule)

1) place all ingredients in the above order into the breadmaker & make on dough setting
2) turn out onto a floured surface, invert large mixing bowl over dough and let rest 10 minutes
3) coat a large raised edge cookie sheet with canola oil
4) roll out dough until it fits the pan
5) place in warm oven (I turned it on to about 200 for 3-4 mins then turned it off before putting the dough in) and leave until it's doubled in size (appox. 40 minutes)
5) using your fingers, press holes into the foccacia
6) drizzle with canola oil and sprinkle with whatever chopped herbs you have- I used rosemary, oregano & basil but others would work too. Minced garlic & shredded parmesan would be yummy!
7) Bake in oven at 450 for 20mins.
8) Let cool, the eat!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Month 1 Done!

That's right- one month down, 3-ish more to go! 4 weeks in, things are chugging along pretty nicely for the most part. Thinking ahead and making sure we have bread made and meat defrosted for the next day is becoming second nature (almost), and the last couple of weeks have really brought our little deck garden to life. We have more lettuce, cherry tomatoes and green and red peppers ready to harvest daily and the beans are coming along nicely. I'm actually having trouble keeping up with the herbs, and think that I'll have to stop harvesting all of it because I already have quite a lot of it dried or drying.

Last night I surprised even me by making a really nice focacchia topped with chopped fresh rosemary, basil and oregano from our garden. I made it from scratch, and it is SO good! This is something I don't think I'd even dream of trying before, but since I'm getting to be an old hand at buns and such, I thought I'd give it a go.

We've gotten into a good pattern of eating 100% local at home (minus fair trade coffee and chocolate- for medicinal purposes), and bringing 100% local lunches and snacks to work. This leaves a little wiggle room for going to friends' places and eating their food from time to time. It works for us, and I have to say that drinking local wine instead of the usual Irish cider while sitting in someone's backyard is almost just as good!

Right now I'm turning my thoughts to our camping trip in a couple of weeks. Should be ok, although I'm not sure if I can give up s'mores. I know they're nutritionally void at best, but there's something about fire roasted marshmallows that are just so tasty!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Back on the wagon

Well dear readers, I have a confession to make. After a rough week, and finding the chicken I'd hoped to cook for dinner still frozen, I ordered pizza.

I haven't given up though, and despite the fact that the pizza incident was followed yesterday morning by the OMG they have fresh made chocolate almond pastries at the bakery I must have one incident, I am back to local foods once again.

Do I feel guilty? No- and not just because it was the best tasting pizza ever (forbidden food tastes SO good!), but because frankly I am not much of an all-or-nothing kinda gal.

I think local food is always going to be a factor now even after the challenge is over, and I really don't want to go back to my eating out, or eating preservative laden prepared food now that I know how good the real thing tastes, but I can't say that I won't order pizza or chinese food every so often- I'll just be more picky about it.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Strawberry Picking, Jam & Soy Sauce Cravings...

I love strawberries. In my opinion there is nothing better than these sweet tasty treats. I've always been a bit of a strawberry snob though- only the small Ontario berries for me. The larger ones from Cali have always been a disappointment- they look ok, but bite into them and they taste like water.

With this in mind, our last trip strawberry picking on Canada Day didn't yield quite enough for me to make it through until next season, especially since this summer I'd nearly psyched myself up to try making jam. So Rick and I went back to Herrle's after work on Thursday to pick some more- 10lbs more. The nice thing about Herrle's is they post on their website how the picking is (from fair-very good) and let you know when they anticipate the berries to be gone. They also grow different types of berries which are ready at different times- all taste delish, and it means the season is extended. The picking look less than 30mins, and although the prep to get them ready for the freezer took an hour, the thought of berries in January kept me going!

Friday I decided that enough was enough- although I've been wanting to can jam for over a year, I was always too scared to actually do it. It all seemed so complicated and the thought of getting botulism if I screwed up didn't make me feel any better! It turned out ok though- the book I got (Well Preserved: small batch preserving for the new cook), explained things pretty thoroughly and it actually only took a couple of hours. I'd do it again, and now that I'm fairly comfortable with the process and have figured out what head room and finger tight mean, I think I'm ready to try salsa once tomato season is in full force in a couple of weeks.

Ok- to end this post I'm going to indulge myself in a 100-mile whine: I miss soy sauce! For some reason the Starbuck's latte cravings I thought I'd have are completely missing and instead I've found myself dreaming of soy sauce. I did end up going for sushi this weekend (part of the special event clause in the 100-mile guidelines- Rick and I decided that book/meat club, all-day work retreats and weddings are our exceptions), but this won't happen again for a long time. I thoroughly enjoyed myself thinking this would be the last time I'd be able to have it until October. Sadly, I think the msg in the restaurant's sauce contributed to the wicked headache I had after, but that's one of the side effects of clean living I guess.

Then, a miracle happened! I open my e-mail this morning to find that Bailey's has found a local supplier! Woohooo! Soy sauce for me! Next week- stir fry.

Other blogs?

There certainly are a lot of us doing this 100-day, 100-mile challenge here in Waterloo Region! It seems that wherever I go, I keep running into people who are making a conscious effort to eat more locally grown food- a girl in my dance class, a friend at a bbq, a co-worker- all are taking a closer look at where their food comes from. It's so cool! Never did I think I'd be trading bread baking tips on my coffee break, or getting farmer recommendations over (local) lunch!

And the cooler thing is that I'm also learning things from folks I haven't even met. Lots of people are writing their own blogs, making comments on websites, and sharing their knowledge and experiences. I know, you think I'm gonna break out into 'it's a small world', don't you? (That's the wonder of blogging- maybe I am and you just don't know it!)

There are lots of places I check out for ideas- foodlink, the healing path blog, and the food network's 100-mile microsite to name a few. Here's another that is pretty good written by someone in the area: I mean really- anyone who thinks that kohlrabi looks like sputnik has gotta be cool!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

100 Mile Side Effects

Over the last 2 weeks of the challenge, a couple of unexpected 100-mile related things have been happening. The first is that we're both finding our food tastes more. It's better for us for the most part certainly, but it's more than that- I'll give you an example: tonight Rick and I had mushroom, onion and cheese omelettes with toast and butter. Pretty basic meal, right? But it tasted AMAZING! Is it that the eggs and vegs were fresher? We were using butter instead of margerine? Our taste buds are springing to life after being preservative free for a while? I have no idea, but it's great!

Another thing I noticed was that we have virtually no garbage to throw out. I thought we were pretty good about not creating a lot of trash, but since the challenge started we've only had 1 kitchen bag of garbage and 1 full blue box- for 2 weeks! Our green bin is fuller, but even that isn't stuffed since I've been trying to save veg bits for stock. No pre-packaged food means a lot less boxes and packaging I guess!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Breadmaking Success & Zoo Food!

I just had to share that I finally managed to make edible bread! Mind you, one other loaf was decent (there have been 3) but the dinner rolls I made last night blew all other attempts out of the water. The difference? I only made the dough in the breadmaker, then finished it off by hand, and baked it in the oven. I'm hoping that if this works for buns, it'll help the loaves as well.

I can't believe we're coming to the close of Day 7! It's already starting to become an automatic thing of planning things in advance. Today we went to the zoo with friends, so we packed a lunch (normally we'd make a Tim run on the way there and buy lunch at the park). An added bonus was instead of feeling awful for eating junk all day, we had a steady supply of healthy treats with us.

Our Zoo Lunch/Snacks:

Carrot Sticks
Ham & Cheese Bunwiches (on my lovely rolls!)
Bread with Creamed Honey

Oh, and by the way- when was the last time you had air popped popcorn with real melted butter and salt? You gotta try it- it's SO good! It made me wonder why on earth anyone would want to eat that microwave bag stuff! Challenge or no challenge, I'm not going back:)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Day 5- we're really doing this!

I can't believe that we're really doing this! Already it's been nearly 5 days of eating at least 95% local food. Already we're discovering that some things are easier, and others harder than we thought!

Things we thought would be harder:
Variety- we're eating a lot of different things which I was kind of worried about before. A lot of this is probably the crazy prep work we did in advance. We've scoured the region and our pantry and freezer are full, the garden is starting to provide us with some things (herbs so far, but the peppers & cherry tomatoes are coming).

Things I didn't expect:
1) It takes a lot of time to make all your meals from scratch! LOTS of time! A simple sandwich now involves everything from baking the bread to slicing cheese. I think I'm going to try and make a giant pot of soup this weekend to at least give us some quick lunch options. Also, I think I'm going to make some bread in advance and freeze it.
2) I miss weird little things like gum & mints. Oh, and I never thought I'd be researching where the water in the water cooler at work comes from.

It's been a fun experience so far, but then we still have 95 days to go!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Field Trip to Heidelberg

I'm thinking Rick should be writing this post as a meat-club correspondent but I'll do my best;)

Today was the last of the prep-trips for the challenge (see previous posts about our trip to Oak Manor), and I have to say that this store was a great find. This afternoon we took a jaunt out to Stemmler's Meats & Cheese to pick up our 50lb freezer meat order which Rick'd ordered for us. Yep, 50lbs of meat are now in our freezer-- a mix of beef, chicken & pork which'll last us quite some time! Suddenly I'm feeling pretty carnavorific (if that's not a word, I'm making it one now).

If anyone feels like a drive, this place is worth checking out- not only do they do freezer orders, but they have a huge variety of meaty things at their fresh counter, plus oodles of local veggies, baked goods, and canned things.

Since today is Day 1 for all the challengers across Waterloo, there's a 100-Mile Challenge pot-luck to kick things off tomorrow for everyone at Oakridges Farm. I'm bringing this:

Bean Salad:

2 cups kidney beans (1 cup dried- rehydrated & cooked beforehand)
2 chopped green onions
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
pinch of salt
some chopped basil

All local!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Shara's Adventures in Breadmaking...

Yesterday was pretty busy- Our Farmer's Choice I think will be a regular shopping place during the challenge, and it's good to know that they also have other local things their too- like the yummy cherry tomatoes I got there.

We also decided to try making bread in our new breadmaker. It was interesting to say the least! (Both attempts!) We got some hard wheat bread flour earlier at Oak Manor, so we used that with local honey, water, yeast & salt to make our first loaf. Of course, I got talking to the husband and forgot how many cups of flour I'd put in. Since it could have been the right amont, we baked it anyway but it was a sorry hard little loaf that we found when we came home that night- not enough flour I guess!

Loaf #2 fared a little better- used a different recipe which called for flour & a cup of oats, plus the other goodies. It was ok, but still underproofed- Rick declared it a success but it's a far cry from the light fluffy loaves you get at the bakery. I dunno, while I am a bit dissappointed (I thought the machine would make better loaves than the one's I'd made by hand), I haven't given up yet! Maybe the hard wheat is harder for breadmachines? Wrong setting? Guess I have 100 days to find out! I also want to try pizza dough and buns sometime which it'll also do (along with freezer jam for some reason which I thought weird).

Next week I hope to take a trip to Herrle's to pick strawberries just in time for Canada Day- yum!

Friday, June 26, 2009

My 100 Mile Diet Starts Tomorrow!!!

Yep, that's right- we're starting early. When our house is full of local goodies and we've finished nearly all of our non-local perishables, why not? We'll be phasing it in over the next 3 or 4 days, but by the 1st we'll be up to 95% local!

Tomorrow's gonna be a busy day. We still need to get butter & meat from the butcher, sausages, apples and hopefully some local hothouse cherry tomatoes from the market.

I think I'm going to check out a new meat place- Our Farmer's Choice out on Courtland. I've heard a lot of good things about it (link). We also picked up our 2nd order from Bailey's Local Foods. We're still figuring it out (I'm still having trouble figuring out what sizes I'm ordering- for ex. how big is a quart vs a pint of strawberries?), but I'm learning what 2lbs of dried beans (not much to look at but are more than you'd think) and 10 rainbow carrots (they're HUGE!) look like. Thankfully the nice checkout volunteers are very patient, and there are always people around to point you to where things are.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Almost to the starting line!

So it looks like we're going to be starting the challenge somewhat early as our stores of non-local food now consist of:
1/4 carton milk (me) & 1/2 carton soy milk (the husband)
1/3 box brown sugar miniwheats (good thing we have the milk!)
1/2 bag tortilla chips
part of a jar of pickles
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
part of a box of ginger cookies
2 hamburgers & 2 buns
and a bag of frozen spinach

What kind of insight that gives into my eating habits I probably don't want to know! Luckily, our second order from Bailey's Local Foods comes in friday-- including local strawberries!!!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Info Overload!

Since the planning began for the 100 mile challenge, I've become a little obsessed with food. Until the last couple of days I thought this would mostly a fun thing that might require a little more work as far as planning menus in advance. Hmm, now that we're nearly out of non-local food in our house and I'm having to replace items we've used up with local ones I'm starting to realize how much this is going to affect our day to day lives.

Pasta? gotta make it myself, Tomato sauce? ditto, although that'd require tomatoes which are only hothouse right now (and cost lotsa $$!). Olive oil? No dice. My basil's still kinda small too.

This is June in Ontario folks. That means fresh local produce is basically rhubarb, asparagus, some greens (lettuce & such) & green onions. Apples and other root vegs are also around but most are starting to be a little rough around the edges due to the fact many were harvested back in the fall.

This does not a filling menu make. Having nothing but asparagus omlettes until my garden starts producing (although I do have 3 tiny peppers and a lot of flowers on my tomato plants) did not sound good.

In my panic though, I did find a GREAT site for 100 mile recipes and other things here. Not only recipes posted by people following the 100 mile diet, but meal plans too! Mind you, not everyone is from the same 100 miles, but I'm hoping it'll help. With only 2 weeks until start, I have my work cut out for me.

Friday, June 19, 2009


I totally forgot about this place. We used to go see them farming the peanuts when I'd visit my grandparents in Simcoe.

I LOVE peanuts! Too bad the husband can't eat them- guess more for me.

Picard's Peanuts- this page lists all of their Ontario grown peanuts.

Also, they have a store on the way to Elmira so it's close to home!

New Additions

Hey All,

I've added a new item in the sidebar so I could list some of the blogs I read. Most of them are KW- centric and many are also on topics related to this blog.

Check 'em out!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Why didn't I think about the bbq sauce?

Below are a few of the things I'm going to miss eating this summer:

1) Chip Dip- for some reason, this is a new food (well, food-like substance) for me and I've become completely addicted to this vaguely onion scented goo.

2) Chinese Food- if Lai Lai's restaurant goes out of business, it's probably our fault. Oh, how am I going to live without your yummy steamed dumplings and hot & sour soup?

3) Marshmallows- camping sans these toasted morsels will be a challenge in itself.

4) BBQ Sauce- make that sauces and condiments in general- my husband passed a comment tonight that we'll need to get more bbq sauce if we're going to spend the summer eating local meat- especially since we were planning on buying in bulk to save on costs. Then it occurred to me- condiments count! What IS in bbq sauce anyway?

Friday, June 12, 2009

How cool are bike-powered smoothies?!?

This place has yummy local & fair trade food & is a business with a conscience! I haven't tried the smoothies, but it's a neat idea ;)
Check it Out!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Country Adventures

On our way back from London, we decided to take a short detour to visit Oak Manor Farms- an organic mill near Tavistock which is committed to getting their grains & other foods from farms that are as local as possible which means that while not all of their products are 100 mile, a lot are (all are from farms in Canada & the US). Many of their products are available in stores here in KW, but since we're trying to do this as economically as possible, I thought it'd be good to visit their store on site to buy some of our staples in bulk.

Unfortunately, we decided to visit on a day when it was completely pouring rain- which made driving down the stretch of dirt road to the mill pretty bumpy! It was definitly worth the drive (and dirty car) though, since we picked up a large bag of oatmeal, some whole wheat bread flour, and some wheat berries for less than $15. The oatmeal is a brekkie staple in our house, so we were both excited to be able to replace our Quaker! Since I haven't been able to find any local rice and I'm not too hopeful about finding any), the wheat berries I think'll be a nice alternative sometimes.

Right now, I'm flipping through a new book on preserving while counting down the days until strawberry season- geesh, I'm turning into such a 100-mile nerd!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Let the Phasing-in Begin!

Since July 4th (also known around here as 100-mile d-day) quickly approaches, we're starting to see some small changes being made around the house. We've decided that it'd be better for us (and our budget) to make the transition a gradual thing. This means that we're not only trying to use up the non 100-mile food we have, but also replacing things we need to buy with their 100-mile alternatives when this makes sense.

Some of the things I figure we should have ready before July are: meat in the freezer, flour & oatmeal in the pantry, honey & maple syrup. I still plan to buy more asparagus this week to freeze too (since I'm now practically an expert!)

This means some trips to local farms & other places coming up, and since we're going out of town this weekend for our anniversary, we're going to be making some stops on the way home to visit a couple of places- more to come about that soon!

So far, this journey is pretty exciting, but then again it's really not even started yet! Still, it's nice to dig out the bread-making book again, and to start really thinking about what this is going to really mean. No quick runs to pick up a snack, no Tim's with the gals at work, and no restaurants!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

My Motivation (rant?)

When we first heard about the challenge put forward to go 100 days only eating food from within a 100 mile radius, I was intrigued. After reading The 100-Mile diet last summer, I'd started taking a closer look at the signs in the produce section and it was surprising. By looking at the selection there, you'd think there was no such thing as seasonal produce anymore.

Strawberries, which as a kid I'd seen as a sign of the end of school and the coming summer, can now be bought in January. Even 'special' imports like clementines, once a Christmas treat, can be bought year-round at almost any grocery store around.

We all look for the signs of the seasons. Crocuses in spring, red and gold leaves in fall- I've always been excited to see the first changes, but never realized until recently how we're missing such a huge part of the changing wheel of the year.

For myself, this challenge is about re-connecting to ideas our predecessors considered facts of life- that we're all connected to the bigger picture, that to everything there is a season, and that good things are the ones you have to wait for.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Beginning

This blog is a result of a lot of things, but mostly because I had no idea how to freeze asparagus.

Right now in Kitchener-Waterloo, there are a number of people preparing to eat local foods from within 100 miles of here starting July 4th as part of a challenge proposed by 2 naturopaths from a local wellness centre. My husband and I signed up to eat 95% of our food from local sources for 100 days (the other 5% coming only from fair trade sources), starting July 4th and ending at Thanksgiving.

That night as we took stock of our cupboards and freezer, we both realized that this is gonna take some preparation.

Saturday, I got to work. In the morning, I went to the market and got three big bunches of local asparagus. That night, I asked a friend if she wanted to trade some of her rhubarb for the zucchini that I'd just planted in my garden. 'This is going to be great!' I thought, and went to bed with visions of preserves lining my shelves, fresh made bread in the oven, and a basket full of home grown vegs on the counter.

Sunday morning brought me back to reality. 1) my gardening skills are scanty at best- promised zucchinis? oh dear. 2) I've never preserved anything in my life- canning was always something other people's mom's did, like baking. I had these plans to store nature's bounty for the winter, making local food part of our diet long after the end of the challenge- somehow, the plan didn't involve botulism. 3) I had 3 bunches of asparagus I had NO IDEA what to do with.

Luckily, the internet is awash with websites seemingly made for people like me. A quick google search netted this site.

Asparagus taken care of, I got to thinking. I have over a month to get ready, plus 100 days of challenge-- why not collect all the cool places, websites, and other resources about eating locally in one place? That way when people ask if there's a local place to get X, I can tell them. I also realized that if I don't get some sort of outlet for this localism I seem to have contracted, I just might drive people crazy with my stories about Esso vs. the Asparagus by the time Thanksgiving rolls around. And so, the blog was born.

This is hopefully going to shape up to be a neat list of places we've found in the community that provide local food. It's also going to be a place to talk about what worked, what didn't, what was hard, and how we're going to use the things we've learned in the future.

This may at times also be a good long rant about me craving Starbucks- hey, you've been warned!