Friday, July 22, 2005

August Eat Local Challenge

Was out scanning other food blogs and wandered into this Eat Local Challenge from a blog title "life begins at 30." Have to admit the blog title enticed me. Yes, I AM over 30. Little story from culinary school days and I will get back on track:

My culinary school team gathered around our little prep table and did the usual introductions. The team was myself and three young men, one was the typical "I have all the answers" type. It was not long before the how old are you question came up. 37 (at the time), I said. "Why are you here at that age?"

Oh my. First, Julia Child was a 36-year-old spring chicken when her culinary adventures began. Second, life does not stop after 20, or even 30. If you can only choose one path and that's it for life ... what a limited view. Life is an exploration, an adventure. The minute you stop learning and seeking, you get old and not a minute before. That's why I love food. It speaks to that passion for life and new things that I need.

The same kid wondered why his ravioli filling did not work out when he used the, uh, "parmesean" in the green can. That pretty much says it all right there.

Okay, back on track. August. Eat Local.

We have a CSA membership (community supported agriculture). Every week we get the same locally grown, organic produce as the top restaurants in town (and there are some good ones). It is beautiful stuff, especially the heirloom tomatoes. For my challenge, it will be to try something new with each week's bag of goodies and post comments on it. It could be a bit on this week's type of tomato (German stripe or lemony or zebra) or it could be what the hell to do with kohlrabi. But I will do my best to post all about my local produce in August. I'll do my best to make it "edutaining." Here are the answers to the challenge questions:

1. My definition of local:
Locally grown or produced, organic. Free range chicken and eggs, fresh organic produce. Heritage seeds. This means supporting the cultivation of many varieties of produce that have been nearly wiped out. Commercial produce growers tend to grow the stuff that appeals to the eye, and most importantly, survives shipping. Often this produce is picked too early and ripened artificially. It does not have the flavor and the amazing variety that the "real" stuff offers. Support for heirloom seeds and crops is a big part of the Slow Food Movement. Check them out for more information. It is a great movement.

2. Exemptions, well being in the Midwest some produce (citrus) just is not obtainable locally. We'll do our best to stick to the bag of goodies. I do have a weakness for imported cheeses and real aged parmesean as you can tell. So I am calling cheese, chocolate, coffee and wine exemptions. Though there is a local cheese maker that does a nice, though pedestrian cheddar ...

3. My goal: Post faithfully all about the produce and other local products we use in the month of August. This is a lot to ask, this faithful posting. I work full time and have a little one as well. Second, make the posts interesting and worth the time people will (hopefully) spend reading them.

Cheers to the over-30 blogger for trying to get the Eat Local message out.

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