The Locavore Pledge

16 Jul

Ingredients for Eggplant-Tomato Casserole; I left out the sausage and pureed fresh tomatoes instead of canned.

The Locavore Pledge:

If not LOCALLY PRODUCED, then Organic.
If not ORGANIC, then Family farm.
If not FAMILY FARM, then Local business.
If not a LOCAL BUSINESS, then Fair Trade.

“If every U. S. citizen ate just one meal a week (any meal) composed of locally and organically raised meats and produce, we would reduce our country’s oil consumption by 1.1 million barrels of oil every week.” ~Barbara Kingsolver, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life

My Locavore project is coming along beautifully, and I’ve had some of the best food ever. It’s so much fun, not to mention tasty, to be looking through all the fresh vegetables, fruits, dairy and other products to decide what to eat every day. I also really like going to the farmers markets – I always have. It’s just a fun outing and good time to me; it’s not only about good food, but community and exploration and a fun place to hang. I like taking my dog, Cleo, too.

My tomato-watermelon salad

One of the most fun aspects of this challenge has been trying different recipes that are recommended to me, whether it’s a recipe given by a farmer or artisan at the market, one that comes in my Greenling box, or one I find on a website about eating local/organic. I’m always posting the recipes I try, and photos of the finished dishes, here on this blog and on Facebook, etc. Of all the different things I’ve posted, one in particular has gotten the most response, by far. It was this Tomato-Watermelon Salad that Johnson’s Backyard Garden posted one day on Facebook.

It was around lunchtime, and I just happened to have all the ingredients – tomatoes I had just purchased from Johnson’s garden the weekend before, sugar baby watermelon from the farmer’s market, and the other stuff. What a combination, I thought – it sounds odd, the sweetness of the watermelon along with tomatoes, onions, avocado, balsamic vinegar and herbs. But one thing I’ve found is that the most different types of flavors can make the best dishes – why do you think Thai food is so awesome?

The same salad, made by my friend Leslie

So I made the salad for lunch, and it was DELISH! The sweetness of the watermelon really juxtaposes nicely with the tanginess of the other ingredients. I posted a photo, and before I knew it several of my friends had made it and were posting their own reviews and photos. Here is what just a few of them had to say:

“It was DELICIOUS! Highly recommend the recipe!” ~My guy Keith, who got to sample it when I made it.

“I made one with the tomato and watermelon, also with mozzarella, pine nuts, basil and balsamic dressing. Very yummy and refreshing for the summer.” ~Georgia

“I made this for my neighbors last night and brought it over to them before dinner time. They just had a baby and were ecstatic to have fresh food that wasn’t in a casserole dish or a takeout container.” ~Katie

“Tomato and Watermelon Salad Shelley Seale recommended. Yummy! Thanks for sharing Shelley! This is one salad I will be making again.” ~Leslie

“That sounds so deliciously weird and looks so beautiful, I have got to make it.” One week later: “Just made the tomato and watermelon salad that Shelley Seale posted about previously. Wow! Yum!” ~MaryAnn

Greens Plants and Produce - Why Locally Grown is Better

The biggest challenges for this project have come from eating out with other people (if I can pick the place I will always choose a local restaurant, not a chain, that sources locally as much as possible like the ones in this article I wrote – but I don’t always have the say); and also when visiting my family – basically situations where I don’t have as much control. I’ve pretty much played by the game rule that as long as I can eat or prepare one fully local, organic meal a day, I’m happy. Even at my family’s house last weekend, my father had a lot of tomatoes and some HUGE zucchini from his garden and his neighbor’s garden. So that night I made a pasta dish with homemade vegetable marinara of zucchini and eggplant; I went to their local market, Green’s Produce, to get fresh basil and other ingredients that were needed. Everyone said it was delicious!

Nectarine Basil Lemonade - Perfect for a Summer Day!

Another recipe that turned out incredible was a Nectarine Basil lemonade I made last night for my daughter. I had just received nectarines and basil in my Greenling Local Box, so I made this drink that was refreshing, slightly sweet with a nice zing to it. Will absolutely make that again.

And for your shopping reference – the Environmental Working Group conducted over 51,000 tests on produce and published the worst polluted fruits and vegetables. ALWAYS buy these items organic. Below is a handy little reference guide for what EWG calls the Dirty Dozen – the worst produce for pesticides that you should ALWAYS buy organic – as well as the Clean 15. (Click the image to bring up a full size jpg version you can print!) From the EWG Shopper’s Guide.

Eat Well!

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3 Responses to “The Locavore Pledge”

  1. Keith Hajovsky July 16, 2011 at 2:36 pm #

    When you use fresh, organic ingredients for cooking it seems like the meals are more delicious than most typical restaurant meals you get. For real!

  2. We*Meat*Again July 18, 2011 at 9:35 pm #

    All of those recipes sound delicious, especially in their creativity in pairing ingredients! I can’t wait to try the nectarine basil lemonade, though I don’t have an awesome Fiestaware pitcher in which to serve it. :)

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