Meeting the Challenge:
After scanning a number of food related blogs, I found one that offered a challenge. That is to eat food that is grown or produced in our local area for one month. The challenge is presented by a blogger in the San Francisco Bay area at Life Begins at 30. The idea being to purchase and eat as much locally grown or produced food as possible during August.
We have decided to accept the challenge!
We are in New Jersey, the often maligned Garden State and are partially taking the challenge to prove (mostly to New Jerseyans) that the availability and diversity of foods from here can match those found anywhere else. Are there any other New Jerseyans who want to join the challenge?
Here's how we will do it:
- Food must be grown or made in New Jersey.
- Exceptions are some obvious things such as black pepper, flour, sugar, salt and other things that are everyday items that aren't produced in NJ (It is possible that many items are produced by major corporations based in NJ such as Campbel's Soup but they don't fit our definition of local). Other exceptions will be certain fruits such as banannas and alvacados that we can't live without, tea, coffee, yogurt, cereals and fruit juices such as orange. Apple juice on the other hand is plentiful here. Meals eaten out will be an exception as will meals at friends and families homes. However, effort will be made to use restaurants that at least make some effort to use local foods and to bring local foods to potluck style events.
- Our goal is to have the greater portion of ingredients in every meal be of local origin. This can include prepared/processed foods such as sauces, jellies, snacks and meats as well as fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs.
- Milk and other dairy products are a problem and will usually be an exception. There's is plenty of milk products packaged in NJ by the likes of Kraft, Tuscan and Welsh Farms, but there are very few dairies in NJ. Of course there are a couple of small cheese producers which we will use - some have goats milk, but we ain't going for that.
- A futher goal is to use what we have learned to extend the challenge for ourselves indefinately.
New Jersey (finally) has a strong land preservation movement and property owners can restrict the use of their land to prevent future development. However, if there is no strong market for the fruits and vegetables the farmers will turn to horses or sod (two big industries around here) to make ends meet.