Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Local Bite Challenge Update - Week #4

Over on Ever Growing Farm there's a 100-day Local Bite Challenge. It’s an experiment to see how much local food a person can live on within certain parameters (e.g., distance, budget). The first four weeks of the challenge are now complete, and this week we already are in Week 5.

The first few weeks of the challenge our enthusiasm was high and we were committed to trying to eat as much locally-grown and locally-produced as we could. We tried new food, planted seeds for peppers, cucumbers, and tomatoes in a seed-starting greenhouse, and had some meals that were made with 100% local ingredients.

And then Week 4 happened. There was too much going on between homeschooling, caregiving, house re-construction (due to an ice dam that happened in early-March), volunteering, and the girls' activities.

Finding the time to consciously and deliberately choose locally-made and locally-produced food simply was not high on my priority list. Because I was pressed for time, I simply went to the grocery store and Autumnwood Farm with Sophia and Olivia and we picked what we needed to get through the week.

That being said, we did find some locally-produced cheese and meat products that we enjoyed during the past week such as beef snack snacks and cheddar cheese curds.

Clearly the beef sticks were a hit. 
The cheese curds we limit to 2-3 curds per serving so they last longer.
Both products are from Wisconsin which is relatively close to where we live.

A product we tried that was new to us was Velvet Bees gourmet honey butter. We have used this on homemade biscuits that are hot out of the oven and the honey butter just melts into them.

We're trying to make this last, but clearly this has been something 
that we've enjoyed during the past week.

The honey butter is different than what I've tasted before. Perhaps it's the addition of cream and vanilla that make a difference. We looked online for some recipes for honey butter that use the five ingredients noted on the jar and came across a couple that we will be trying. It would be nice to be able to make our own butter rather than having to purchase it.

The label on the honey butter jar.

I also went to another grocery store to get some food for a quick dinner. It had been a long day and I just needed something easy to make. As I was walking past the bakery section, I saw there was bread that was on sale.

Even better: it was locally-made bread!

The price was $3.39 for the loaf, but it was marked down to only $1.69. It is great for toasting, but a little too fragile for making sandwiches. The honey butter on this natural grain bread has been a simple, locally-made meal that we have enjoyed on several mornings.

We also bought skim milk and chocolate milk from Autumnwood Farm as we have been doing since the start of the Local Bite challenge.

The seeds that we planted during the second week of the challenge are so tall that we had to take the top of the table-top greenhouse off. However, the plants seem real spindly and small compared to ones that are available in stores now. It probably would have been better to start the seeds several months ago so they were ready to be planted outdoors now. I think we'll just be purchasing some more sturdy plants that are a bit further along so that we get some produce out of our garden earlier in the summer.

Nonetheless, the seedlings we planted still can be planted outdoors and we'll see if they produce vegetables. Either it will take the whole season for the plants to grow or we'll have a super-huge crop of vegetables late in the season.

So, it's been a mixed week for us. We had some successes in terms of trying new locally-grown/produced products and enjoying the ones that we have since the beginning of the challenge. At the same time, we had some challenges with being able to thoughtfully choose locally-grown/produced food when presented with limited time due to the demands and responsibilities of daily life.

1 comment:

Rita said...

The honey butter sounds so good. It turned out pretty difficult to eat locally. I wonder if it will improve when the farmers markets open up? :)