Eat Local Challenge: A Strategy for Survival

Monday, September 15, 2008 — Framingham, Mass. — The Southwestern Vermont Eat Local Challenge begins today, and I’m nervous about participating in the event: I’m worried I’ll starve. I just don’t know if I have access to enough local growers and producers to subsist solely on local foods for a week, so I developed a survival strategy.

Before I unveil my strategy, let’s look at what I typically eat on a daily basis to see the extent to which I’m going to have to change my diet.

Meridith’s Week Day Diet

Breakfast: Cereal (typically Kashi Heart to Heart, Kashi Strawberry Fields or Barbara’s Shredded Oats) with Organic Cow skim milk and Trader Joe’s French Roast coffee.

Mid-morning snack: Fruit and almonds. This time of year, the fruit is usually a locally grown peach or melon. I’ve no idea where the almonds came from before they hit the shelf at Price Chopper.

Lunch: Hummus sandwich made with whole grain Battenkill Bread, slathered with Teleion Holon hummus and piled high with sliced tomatoes from Clear Brook Farm, Cabot extra sharp cheddar cheese and sprouts. I munch on Trader Joe’s corn chips between bites of my oozing sandwich.

Après déjeuner gourmandise: Usually a home-made sweet if I baked over the weekend. If not, a packaged cookie. Lately it’s been Pepperidge Farm Piroulines. They’re totally addictive and really good when I’m on deadline, which is approximately every other day.

Mid-afternoon snack: Could be ice cream (usually Wilcox, which is local). Could be Ritter chocolate (not local.) Could be Cabot cottage cheese and Ritz crackers. Could be Rondelé garlic and herb cheese spread on Ritz crackers. Rarely is it Stonyfield yogurt (made in New Hampshire). Most likely more Pepperidge Farm cookies.

Dinner: A steak from Price Chopper, locally grown salad, and for a starch, either Near East couscous, polenta with lots of parmesan cheese, some kind of noodle or rice.

So what’s going to have to change?

My Strategy for Surviving the Eat Local Challenge

Breakfast: I’ll have to replace my Trader Joe’s coffee with beans roasted in Vermont, which I can find at the Wayside Country Store.  Cereal, on the other hand, will be a challenge to procure. I don’t know of any cereals made in Vermont, and I certainly can’t start my day with a bowl of flakes manufactured in La Jolla, California during a Southwestern Vermont Eat Local Challenge.  So cereal appears to be out of the question for the week.  Dommage.  What to eat instead? Bacon and eggs and toast, I guess. I can already feel my arteries clogging…

Mid-morning snack: I can continue eating fruit from Clear Brook Farm, but it’s ixnay on the almondsay. I’m not sure what to snack on in lieu of almonds. Some granola perhaps? The yogurt I always intend to eat but never do? Frankly, I’d rather have yogurt and granola for breakfast, to break up the bacon and eggs routine. Anyone have any recommendations for what I can eat with my fruit for a healthy mid-morning snack?

Lunch: The Spiral Press Cafe could sell my colossal hummus sandwich as a “localvore’s lunch” since they’re created entirely with food made nearby. I will, however, need to identify a replacement chip. Hopefully I’ll find something at Clear Brook Farm or at the Wayside. If I tire of hummus sandwiches, Clear Brook Farm sells amazing smoked turkey from a smokehouse near Stratton (Green Mountain Smokehouse, I think), so I can fix myself a turkey sandwich or even a Cobb Salad (minus the avocado). Egg salad sandwiches may also be an option provided I can find mayo made in Vermont.

Après déjeuner gourmandise: It’s at this point during the day where my effort to eat healthy gets derailed by a looming deadline and where I suspect my effort to adhere to a localvore diet may get sabotaged by my Id (I MUST HAVE PIROULINE COOKIES!) Does anyone know of any locally made cookies? Oh, I know. There’s a woman in Sandgate who makes delicious shortbread cookies. Vermont Moonlight Cookies. Clear Brook Farm sells them.  (Good old Clear Brook.) I can also buy the maple creme sandwich cookies that The Village Peddler in Arlington sells and that I love so much.  If I’m craving chocolate, the Wayside sells Lake Champlain Chocolates. I can also walk to the Village Peddler, which sells home-made chocolates.

Mid-afternoon snack: Vermont is famous for its dairy products, so I don’t have to skimp when it comes to my preferred snack of cheese and crackers. I’ll have to replace Ritz crackers with Vermont Common Crackers or with those Saltine-like crackers that I buy at the Village Peddler.

Dinner: I don’t know what Eric and I are going to eat for supper. Obviously, steaks from Price Chopper are a big no-no this week, and unfortunately, I don’t have a chicken from Two Spoon Farm in the freezer. I’ve seen sausage that’s made in Vermont at Shaw’s in Manchester. We can have that one night. I’ve also seen Kielbasa at Clear Brook Farm, made by that Green Mountain Smokehouse. McKenzie hotdogs are another option.  That’s a lot of meat in casing, but I don’t think I have much choice.

What else can Eric and I eat for dinner? Too bad we cleaned out all the game from our freezer the other week.  Oh, I know: I’ve seen rabbit at the Wayside.  That makes four meals, but I need a few more. Putney Pasta? That would work, but I’d rather eat pasta as a side dish than as a main course. I might have to finally venture to the Merck Forest in Rupert for a steak, but I likely won’t have time to drive up there before the weekend.

What else can I make for dinner? Egg salad? Bacon and eggs? Pancakes? Now I’m really getting desperate. I haven’t even considered starches to go on the side. Corn on the cob?

What will you be having for dinner, and can Eric and I join you?

As you can see, I’ve given some thought to what I can (and can’t) eat this week. I have more options than I realized, but it still may not be enough to keep me sane for a week (okay, I admit, for five days. I’m in Massachusetts for work today and tomorrow, and I can’t realistically start this Eat Local Challenge until I return to Vermont.) I suspect I’ll be eating a lot of eggs, cheese, chocolate and ice cream. I  now realize I’m also going to have to find some local red wines to offset all of this cholesterol, but more and more wineries are popping up in the Green Mountain State.

Once I get back to Vermont on Wednesday, I’ll report on everything I eat over the next week.

Let me know if you’re participating in the Southwestern Vermont Eat Local Challenge (or any Eat Local Challenge), what you’re planning to eat, and if you’ve found a cereal (not granola) made in Vermont (not to mention something else I can eat besides almonds.)

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4 thoughts on “Eat Local Challenge: A Strategy for Survival

  1. this is a terrific post – you are really thinking about all of this. you’ll be fine!

    You can always eat out at the Perfect Wife or Inn at West View Farm for one dinner. I always have local bread and butter for breakfast, sometimes an egg too. You can go to the farmer’s market, in addition to Clear Brook, and search for meats and cheeses for lunches and dinners too?

  2. Hi – Just wanted to make a correction. Vermont Moonlight Cookies is located in Shaftsbury, Vermont, not Sandgate. Thanks!

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