Friday, January 3, 2014

Foodie Resolutions: 2014

It’s here—another year! Social media is buzzing with resolutions about dropping a few pounds and getting more organized. I’ve decided to make mine about eating more locally grown food, patronizing more restaurants who work with nearby farms, and finding other ways of greening up my zip code. This post is actually about two things: helping people who want to become locavores get started, and supporting a friend of mine; an angel who gets his wings every time a locavore is born.  

His name is Cory Bryk of Boone, N.C., a Marine who served in Iraq and returned home to become, of all things…A FARMER! I’ve posted his picture here.

I’m sure I’m not alone in being so glad that he did—I enjoy the fruits of New Life Farm (Cory’s farm) every time I’m in North Carolina—and thank him for raising one of the best Thanksgiving turkeys the Morgan family has ever eaten. In addition to the tasty livestock, Cory’s farm is responsible for a bountiful vegetable harvest—and he can reap even more of what he sews when he gets a new tractor. If you live near Boone, and want to see more of New Life Farm’s products, you’ll donate what you can to his Kickstarter project, active until January 24th.  Just click this link to help him on his way.      

So, here’s what got me thinking about why being a locavore (that means restricting your diet to the consumption of fresh products produced within a 100 mile radius of home) is such a worthwhile pursuit. It’s so much fresher; a truck didn’t have to burn a ton of fossil fuels to bring it to the store, and it didn’t lose any nutrients on a long ride. 

You don’t usually have to worry about pesticides, and you’re helping your local economy do better. If you manage sometime in 2014 to make a pasta primavera sauce entirely out of veggies you bought from a local vendor, you can relish more than just a fabulous taste. You can feel good about being kind to the planet as well.    

Here a few quick and easy-to-remember ways to become a locavore—start small if you’re new to this, by serving all farmers market fare at your next dinner!  

  • Use LOCALHARVEST.ORG! It’s an amazing tool to find everything from farmers markets, organic food buying clubs, tasting events and more in every single zipcode in the United States.
  • Once a month, pick out an out-sourced food item, and swap it out for something you can get locally made. Honey is a great first start, as every community has a bee haven somewhere.
  • Join a community garden club or CSA. I do the later. Look up a farm in your area (use and sign up for biweekly or monthly delivery of their seasonal harvest. Some CSA’s offer milk, meat, honey and eggs in addition to veggies. It tastes SOOOO good.
  • Ask a local farmer or vendor at a farmers market, if he has any restaurant accounts and then patronize that restaurant! I’ll be the first to try this tactic with Cory at New Life.
  • Host a “100-mile Dinner Challenge”: PBS writes all about it in this article, (it’s based on Thanksgiving, but can be done any time of year) which I’ll summarize for you now: next time you host a dinner, ask guests to bring a regionally recognized recipe from their neck of the woods. If they’re from the south, a pecan pie made with pecans from a neighborhood tree is a prime example.  If you live on the coast, it can be all about the seafood.
  • Research the fruits and veggies unique to your area and try them in a salad or on a cracker! I did it with kumquats; I found a package of them at Publix with a label that said the kumquats were from Deland, Florida—the tangy, citrusy things kicked up the flavor of a tomato salad in ways I’m still craving…. 

OK, that’s it. I’ve put it in a nutshell for you—grown, harvested and sold by the guy next door : ) Cheers, and happy 2014!

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