Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Local Food Month - Wrap Up

At the beginning of July we set some modest goals for our participation in Crunchy Chicken's Local Food Month. To recap, we planned:
  • To find out where our local farmers are located.
  • To buy as much produce as possible from these farmers either at their farms near us or at the Farmer's Market(s).
  • To learn more about growing our own food, and keep good care of our little 4X4 garden.
  • What ever fresh produce we do buy from the grocery store will be grown in Canada or the USA only.
  • To check where every food product we buy comes from, and when we have a choice (which is most of the time) to buy the one that is produced closer to home.
We did quite well with these goals, but I was a bit disappointed that I haven't yet actually made even one completely and totally local meal.

Ok, so here are the results, goal-by-goal:
  • We did find quite a few local farmers and producers, which I have listed on the side-bar to the right. I haven't made it out to Lola Canola's apiary yet, but I'm hoping to do that this Sunday.
  • We did buy quite a lot of produce from these producers at local farmers markets. Every week I would buy a selection of what was on offer, which was quite a lot! I bought peas, cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, potatoes, carrots and raspberry jam. There is nothing like a young field cucumber or vine-ripened tomato. And I have rediscovered the joy of potatoes - the little ones are so delicious just boiled with butter or garlic butter. Plus they are great additions to my lunch, just cold.
  • We have kept good care of our little garden, and it has really worked out well overall! I have learned a lot that can improve things for next year too, like how to pre-sprout peas before planting them, and that weather that is too hot causes spinach and lettuce to 'bolt' and go to seed early. I have also learned that I should've planted the garden about two weeks earlier. The carrots are still teeny-tiny, and I hope they will be ready before it gets too cold. I have also learned which seeds can be planted close together and which need more room. In addition to our 4X4 garden, we are growing chives, two kinds of parsley and oregano in the herb garden near the house, and we have also planted strawberries (in the ground) and tomatoes (in a 5 gallon bucket).
  • We were very good with buying our grocery store produce from only North America. We did buy grapefruit from South America once, but we were able to get them from the USA after that. This will become much more difficult when Winter arrives.
  • Grocery shopping has become quite the educational activity when you check where everything is made before buying it. We've also found out that even when something says it is made in Canada, that doesn't mean that the ingredients all come from Canada. For instance, I had switched to Soy Nice, made in BC, instead of buying Silk, made in the USA, but when I contacted the Soy Nice company, it turns out that their soybeans also come from the USA.
Local Food Month will definitely be continuing on into the Fall in our household, and I really want it to become a permanent way of eating once we connect with more of our local farmers and learn to grow more of our food ourselves.

Today is Wednesday again, so I'll be heading over to the Sherwood Park Farmer's Market right next to our Tai Chi classes this evening, to see what's come in from the fields this week!

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