When first committing to Polk Eats Local I had feelings of excitement at the challenge and a bit nervous. While I do pay attention to what I source local because I feel VERY strongly about supporting our local producers and food entrepreneurs( yes it is my job too, which I do because I am passionate about our community and agriculture), I admit I still ‘default’ to convenient foods, the bottom line price sticker and giving in to my ‘wants’ rather than my ‘needs.’ My mom ( remember we are a 3 generation household) reminded me the other day, as we were talking about eating local, that it takes 2 weeks of doing something consistently to make it a habit ( I remembered hearing this years ago and applied it to my need to floss daily). This reminder got me to pondering if my habit of eating local habit has developed. I have found myself thinking about what is on my plate or where I stop to pick something MORE now than before starting our eat local campaign. I plan meals more around what I can source local. I think about what I can find local to substitute for a non local food item I normally use- such as pasta, bread and orange juice. I used to be an OJ fanatic. I can now go weeks without having to have it. Because I have a sensitivity to wheat I have cut out pasta and cut back on breads- this is much better for the waistline too :).
I was on vacation with my family last week(actually, 2 of our 4 adult children agreed to go with the old parents to Florida). We had a blast! I had determined to at least be aware of local sourcing while gone. Some of the things I discovered:
A retail food store called Earth Origins had locally sourced oranges and grapes.
We went to a locally owned seafood restaurant one night which had a fresh seafood market connected to it. I almost made myself sick on shrimp.
I picked up a jar of guava jelly. Guavas grow in almost every backyard in Florida. My mother is from Florida. I was almost a teenager before I realized there were other kinds of jelly besides guava. I am serious, we did not have anything in our house except guava. We have not had a good guava jelly in a long time. The jar is almost empty just since Saturday. Same Florida company, same jar design, same taste as when I was young . Ahh the memories.
A bag of Vidalia onions on the way home. I panic if there are no onions in the house( ask my family, they have seen the panic).
I TOOK to Florida several bottles of local wine and 2 pints of honey as thank you hostess gifts. They were immensely appreciated, along with our pastured pork sausage and ground beef.
Food prep knowledge I learned on vacation – How to correctly and effectively cook bacon to absolute crisp perfection- You will have to find me and ask me. So simple, I can’t believe I was doing it wrong all these years…..
I missed the farmers markets in Polk County this week so I am having to be a bit more creative in my sourcing but this will be a good thing as it will expand my options.
Sunday breakfast- Spelt toast with…..guava jelly.
Sunday Lunch- Work with what you’ve got: Grass fed beef meatloaf that incorporated onions, eggs, a shredded patty pan squash, 2 slices of stale spelt bread, some tomato sauce and Old Mule BBQ for a flavor boost. Placed meatloaf in a cast iron casserole dish and sliced potatoes on top. Baked for 45 minutes. Side of seared kale from the garden with garlic and sliced tomatoes. Wow it was good. The best part was sharing it with one of our new Americorp members- Ansley Roberts who was in town to secure housing for the new year starting September 1.
Supper- Pork Chops on the grill and some stir-fried cabbage with a diced sweet potato.
Monday breakfast- A poached egg on toast- I hadn’t had one in over a week! Hit the spot.