So earlier this year, after being inspired by reading the book Plenty by Alisa Smith & J.B. MacKinnon, I decided that this summer I would conduct a local eating experiment. I planned to start getting all of my food minus one meal a week from sources within 150 miles of my own home starting the middle of June.
The little experiment failed spectacularly. I was not prepared for being unable to find anything to eat but chicken and salad greens for the first week. I was not prepared for being unable to find potatoes. Smith and MacKinnon practically lived on only potatoes for a decent stretch of their experiment, yet I couldn't find any local sources. I will admit I didn't try that hard. But the problem is that June is really the wrong time of year for potatoes. I had so many plans for those potatoes!
Honestly, outlining all the reasons that my experiment failed would really be a lesson in embarrassment. But, what I can say though is that eating local takes a lot of self discipline and a decent amount of time. Unfortunately, my life currently is light on both discipline and time so this was not the right time for my all local food experiment. I've decided instead that I will do my best to eat as much local food this summer as possible.
I signed up with some friends for a CSA from Montalbano Farms this summer. The food I get from that comes from within 90 miles of my house. I also do work at the Dill Pickle Food Co-op in Logan Square where lots of local farms sell produce. This gives me a great advantage in eating lots of local food this summer.
Chicago is a great place for eating local as we live in a very rich climate. So even though I couldn't stick by my mostly local food experiment I plan to continue eating as local as I can, but to not blame myself if I buy an apple out of season.
Also, I plan to post some of my most successful recipes here, so check back!
What local foods are you eating this summer? Have you signed up for a CSA or made any use of one of Chicago's many farmer's markets?