As our Local Eating Challenge looms before me, I am suddenly fearful of what will happen. An underlying fear that I will starve, or that I will fail has suddenly crept in. However:
I realize that I will not starve.
I realize that I will probably eat better than I do now.
I realize I will simply ‘make do’ with what local offerings we find.
Still, the fear is nagging. Perhaps this is what is inevitable when coping out of the industrialized food universe. We might just have to ignore what we have been taught- that food at the ready, on a shelf, in a store nearby = security. This idea is pervasive, however not very strong. The wheat scare a few years ago, and the effects of increases in gas prices on cost and availability of foods all demonstrated that industrial food requires a more delicate balance than we would have thought.
Don’t worry. I won’t chicken out. For the first month of this endeavor, there will probably be an underlying fear that will transition into an assurance of ‘things are going fine.’ For the time being I have the jitters before this Friday.
We now have to make some last decisions on our Food Challenge….
the philosophical: ‘should we change any of our guidelines/principles?’
the practical: ‘what pick your owns (PYO) will we frequent?’ and ‘what major food items must we address?’
the aesthetic: ‘is this really how we want our blog to look?’
and the existential: ‘what if a product has only a portion of its ingredients from a local source, but it is processed in a local facility? what does it mean!? what will we do!?’
Fortunately we aren’t in a large scale existential crisis, and we have made some good practical decisions.
One major decision is to have all items in our pantry “grandfathered in.” Which means that our dried quinoa, or some dried beans, and that half bag of pasta, or the olive oil organic mayo will be allowed in our eating. Now don’t give me that look- I promise we didn’t go hog wild this week buying months worth of staple food items. We actually keep a pretty sparse pantry, and maybe a quarter of it already fulfills our principles. There are two reasons for this decision:
1. To not eat this food would waste it. We don’t like the idea of waste.
2. Allowing us to use this food will give us a mild transition into our local eating challenge.
In preparing for our Local Eating Challenge, we have been thinking over what major staple foods we rely upon and have been trying to locate local/sustainable/small business suppliers. Some items, like cooking oils, we have simply agreed that we will make do without and rely upon butter and other animal fats for cooking fats. But some things in life are harder to let go…… for me, that’s OATs. Oatcakes, oatmeal, homemade granola, oat flour, oatmeal cookies, savory oat soup, oatmilk….. yum!
I have found a lot of great local suppliers of grains and flours, but somehow oats were missing…. I knew that a MA farmer supplied oats to the Pioneer Valley Grain CSA, and I have e-mailed and called quite a few other farms about their oats, but to no avail. Theresa, in reading the Diary of a Locavore Blog came across her source of local oats: Wood Prairie Farm in Maine. They are a small family farm, that has been growing organic for 30 years! They seem awesome from their website, and they seem to be close to Theresa’s relatives in Maine, so maybe we can visit them… someday. For now, we will probably order some from their website.
Although we must give up many things for this challenge, I’m just uber happy we found a great resource for oats!
Other decisions…. still working on what staple foods we want to find from local/sustainable/small business sources, so that some of our research is already done, so we don’t panic on Friday. Once we have a list, I’ll post it. Until then….