I’ve just discovered the Eat Local Challenge posted by Jen on her life begins at 30 blog. She invited fellow food bloggers to make the commitment to eat locally produced food during August. In her own words:
“For the month of August, I would like to invite all bloggers to join me in taking a challenge to eat food local to where you live. You will be able to build your challenge parameters yourself, and set reachable goals for the month. Ths goal of this time is to eat as much local food as possible, and to really pay attention to where your food comes from.”
Typical that I should discover this as the month ends but it did put me thinking.
In Ireland, my main source of food was the local Tesco. I’d go there a couple of times a week, without a list normally, and pick whatever caught my eye or was on special. Since moving to Dublin, I’ve never lived more than 10 minutes walk from the supermarket so there was never much pressure if I forgot something or I decided to make a dish for which I didn’t have the ingredients. I just ran up the road and collected the necessary – and several other things which I didn’t need but which came to hand at the time!
I rarely went to the butchers, there were no nearby greengrocers and, since I didn’t really eat much fish at the time, I didn’t need a fishmongers. As my favourite meal normally involves bread and cheese – but the bread has to be good and the cheese fabulous – I did need a cheesemongers. Some of my nicest meals involved something savoury that I picked up from Sheridan’s Cheesemongers around the corner paired with a baguette from the gorgeous La Maison des Gourmets. I did make an effort to eat Irish cheese (Cashel Blue, I miss you) but you could hardly call a baguette, even if produced in Ireland, a local food.
For me, eating locally is all connected with shopping locally and I’m doing a lot more of that here in New Zealand. Maybe it’s because I’ve a bit more time on my hands in Christchurch but I think it’s also because this city is much better supplied with great shops.
Where I live is within walking distance of two butchers – Peter Timbs in Edgeware and Verkerks on Manchester Street. There’s a fishmongers a few doors down and a really nice cheesemongers just a few minutes walk away. All of those do make life a lot easier, especially if you’re trying to buy and eat local. Now the supermarket stop is just once a week, complete with a proper list, and almost all our veggies come from the local market or direct from the growers. I discovered yesterday that Christchurch’s first farmers’ market takes place in Lyttleton next weekend so that will increase the Eat Local scope still more.
Time to put the thinking cap on and see what else I can manage in the line of local food before the month is up. But there are a few questions that I have to answer first:
1. What’s your definition of local for this challenge?
I was going to be cheeky here and say all of New Zealand but then I realised that I generally eat more locally than that, especially as there are so much fruit and vegetables grown around the Canterbury region. So, Canterbury it is, then.
2. What exemptions will you claim?
I think the list of exemptions could be longer than the things that I’ll be able to use so I’ll just hold off on answering that one for the time being!
3. What is your personal goal for the month?
Well, as I said, it’s a bit late that I’m starting but I’ll try to increase my usage of food from the Canterbury area, discover new suppliers and be more imaginative in my use of the good basic Kiwi veggies.