Living a Locally Supported Lifestyle

Posts Tagged ‘eat local’

The Locally-Stuffed Easter Basket

Sunday, March 24th, 2013

If you didn’t notice within hours of Valentine’s Day (actually days BEFORE Valentine’s Day), Easter candy and baskets and everything else Easter hit store shelves. And all those Easter goodies were far from natural (if an ingredient list has chemical names and numbers in it, it’s not for us!) and made in big, ole factories. Gross.

Support your local chocolatiers and stuff those Easter baskets with locally-made artisan goodies. Here are some of our favorites from across the US. Find neighbors making yummy Easter treats near you using the Locallectual directory.

Christophe Chocolate – Charleston, South Carolina

Compartes Chocolatier – Los Angeles, California

Maison Robert Fine Chocolates – Atlanta, Georgia

 Vice Chocolates – Oakland, California

MarieBelle Chocolates – New York, NY

And for the unconventional Easter treat…
a solid chocolate Easter Gator

Southern Candymakers – New Orleans, Louisiana

Halloween Candy Fancified (and Localized!)

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

Leave the Snickers and Reese Peanut Butter Cups to the amateur Trick or Treaters – we’ve found some amazing, handcrafted chocolates perfect for your Halloween party  or grown-up candy sack (your kids might not be sophisticated enough for these ghouls and goblins).

Chocolate Skulls from Cacao Atlanta
Dusted with silver or gold powder with edible crystal eyes. Interiors are filled with silky caramel or house made peanut butter.

The Monster Mash Collection from Moonstruck Chocolate Co., Portland, Oregon
Crème Brulée Werewolf, Peanut Butter Ghost, Blood Orange Vampire and Popping Praline Mummy truffles
Dark Chocolate Spooky Cat from Lake Champlain Chocolates, Burlington, Vermont

Handpainted Chocolate Pumpkin from Christophe Artisan, Charleston, South Carolina

Milk Chocolate Witch Pop from Edward Marc Chocolatier, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Have a favorite artisan chocolate maker we missed? Send them our way!

Local Love,
Jess

The Hottest Post-College Career? Farming

Monday, October 1st, 2012

No, it’s not 1915 – it’s 2012 – and farming is hot again. In fact, the most recent Agriculture Census (2007) showed an increase in the number of farms for the first time since 1920. And who’s getting on the bandwagon? Recent college grads.

Image via the New York Times

These college grads aren’t getting into farming because it’s easy or fun. In fact, these millenials have to convince their parents that farming is a worthy (and challenging) field to work in, and that they can get by financially.

So why is farming so hot right now? Young farmers name a multitude of reasons, including the being in an industry that’s good for society and being outdoors all day. Kathleen Merrigan, the deputy agriculture secretary recently stated, “I always joke that in the old days I used to go to a party and people would say, ‘What do you do for work,’ and I would say, ‘I work in agriculture,’ and I’d be left in the corner somewhere with my gin and tonic,” Ms. Merrigan said. “Now I say I work in agriculture and I’m the belle of the ball.”

We like to think the rise of the local food movement is part of the farming trend. But the most cited reason these millenials are becoming farmers is because they like to work hard, but to see the fruits of their labors – literally.

Read the whole article on nytimes.com.

Local Love,
Jess

 

Will Food Shortages Make Vegetarians of All of Us?

Monday, September 3rd, 2012

This is a scary number. The world’s population is on schedule to hit 9 billion by 2050. As the Earth is not getting larger, this means more people taking up more food and less room to grow food. This means more food shortages. And if we continue to experience extreme droughts like the one hitting parts of the US this summer, food shortages are going to become more prevalent.

Right now humans derive about 20% of their protein needs from animal-based products. Based on research by some of the world’s leading water scientists, humans will need to drop this down to 5% to have enough meat to feed the extra 2+ billion people expected on the earth in 38 years. That’s scary, but that’s not all. These scientists believe that IF we drop animal-product consumption down to 5% per person we will have JUST ENOUGH water to supply the world – and that’s with a reliable food trade system in place across the globe.

If you think you’re safe because you’re in a first world country, you’re wrong. We’ve seen just this summer alone how droughts can greatly affect food prices and food prices aren’t going to go down. The days of cheap food are over. This will greatly hinder the development of second world countries along with devastating third world countries. This will affect first world consumption as well.

Thirsty Cattle in Kansas via the Guardian

So what to do?  Meatless Mondays should be taken seriously. And should turn into Meatless Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and then Meatless Weeks and eventually becoming a complete and total vegetarian.  Animal protein-rich food consumes five to 10 times more water than a vegetarian diet. One third of the world’s arable land is used to grow crops to feed animals. Soooo cutting back on eating meat, the global need for meat, and the land used for raising animals for consumption will give the world more potable water. Get it?

Read more about water shortages and how it affects the world’s population from the Guardian.

Will you become a vegetarian?

-Jess

Will Virtual Marketplaces Make Local Ingredients More Prominent?

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

You can get anything online these days. And while it may seem counterintuitive, chefs are now able to order local produce and other foods in bulk online to supply their restaurants.

FarmersWeb is an online tool that lets chefs find farmers in the New York tri-state area to supply their restaurants. Farmers list what they’re selling and manage their sales on the site, while FarmersWeb makes sure the transactions are completed and the farmers get paid. Great idea, however, not all obstacles have been overcome. Farmers and chefs still have to arrange delivery or pickup and FarmersWeb doesn’t handle disputes over delivery or quality of product. However, most have been satisfied with the process as we all know that local foods are of better quality than their non-local and imported counterparts.

 

FarmersWeb has plans to expand to other East Coast states in the next few months. Does your area have a business like this? We’d love to hear about it and if they’re having success.

-Jess

Eating Local Gets Giant

Monday, August 20th, 2012

It’s just about that time of year where wives lose their husbands and Sunday afternoons (and evenings) are spent in front of the tv – football season. And there’s an unlikely player taking the field this season – local foods.

Local foods have made a prominent appearance at the New York Giants training camp at the University of Albany. And this is not just a quick run to the farmers market in the morning for UAlbany’s chef. “When we order cucumbers, we don’t need a few cases. We need 30 to 40 bushels,” says Dennis Williams, executive chef of UAlbany’s Dining Services, who can end up feeding 300 players, coaches, and staff each meal during the team’s 19 day camp. And keep in mind that these players are Giants – in more way than one!

The National Strength and Conditioning Association estimates a professional football player during heavy training needs 50 calories per kilogram (2.2 pounds), so that means the smallest Giant, 175-pound cornerback Brandon Bing, should eat 4,000 calories a day, while the biggest, defensive tackle Shaun Rogers, at 350 pounds, needs about 8,000 CALORIES A DAY. Holy cow. Or maybe I should say holy pig, as the players say they’ve notice a difference in the taste of the foods at camp since the emphasis has been put on local foods. Especially the quality of the pig at the pig roast. I guess only a whole pig can suffice when feeding large men who need 8000 cals a day. I would guess even more than one!

But in all seriousness, the players have stated that the foods at camp are even better than those they get via hotel room service when traveling for games and have noticed the improvement in taste and quality. One of their favorite stations? The salad bar. How many times have you heard a football player say that?

-Jess

 

Hangout with the White House to Discuss Local Foods

Saturday, July 14th, 2012

The White House announced today via its blog that it’s hosting a Google+ Hangout on Tuesday July 17th at 3 PM EST to discuss the local food movement with women in the movement (cough, cough, where was OUR invite???). Join Jon Carson, White House Director of Public Engagement and Kathleen Merrigan, Deputy Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture, along with women across the country who are making a difference in their community by supporting the local food movement. They’ll also be discussing the USDA’s 2.0 site for their “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” Compass.

Ask questions and join the discussion on the White House Google+ Page, on Twitter using the hashtag #WHHangout, or here. Questions can be submitted ahead of time and during the event.

See you there!

Local Love,
Jess

New Englanders: More Reasons to Eat Local – Lobster Now Cheaper Than Bologna

Friday, July 13th, 2012

Yup, that’s right! Get’em while they’re hot! U.S. News and World Report is reporting that a pound of soft shell lobster from Portland, Maine is now selling for roughly $3.79 to $4.99 per pound, which is “less than the per-pound price for bologna.” Lobster are currently in excess this season, so you can get the soft-shell crustaceans (they have a little less meat than the hard-shelled puppies but you don’t need a cracker) on the cheap. Simple economic theory of supply and demand, ya know?

Image via U.S.News and World Report

So celebrate, New Englanders, and put some money in your friendly, neighborhood fisherman’s pocket. And ladies, be suspicious of men staying they’re taking you on an expensive lobster dinner!

Lobster Sliders via Food & Wine

Need some inspiration? Here are some great lobster recipes from Food & Wine for ya:

Lobster Sliders
Lobster and Corn Fritters
Yellow Gazpacho with Shrimp and Lobster 
Deluxe Lobster and Potato Chip Rolls

Lobster rolls for everyone!

Local Love,
Jess

The Sweetest Summer Road Trip: Hit an Ice Cream Trail!

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

Pack up your kids and don’t forget your Lactaid! One up and coming trend we’ve seen this summer is the emergence of states’ ice cream trails.

It’s a nice alternative for locavores who want to support local producers but have family members that aren’t old enough to saddle up to the bar for a wine or distillery tour (and tasting). States and cities across the country are supporting their local dairy farmers and their summer hobby of producing ice cream. And if you’ve ever had farm fresh, homemade ice cream you know there’s a huge different from the gallons you buy in store. No freezer burn here, that’s for sure!

Many stops on these trails are on actual farms so your trip can be educational as well. Stop and see the ice cream get made from utter to cone – seeing the process will make the end product that much sweeter.

 

 

A few ice cream trails to check out – many with downloadable maps! :
Maryland’s Ice Cream Trailblazer 

Connecticut‘s Sundae Drives

New Hampshire’s Dairy Trail

Chicago’s Ice Cream and Gelato Festival

Austin Ice Cream Festival

Check out this video from Maryland’s Kibly Cream on why they love ice cream season:

Local love,
Jess

Local Mindsets Creating New Business Models in Agriculture Sector

Monday, July 9th, 2012

The American mindset towards agriculture and its economics are changing and getting national notice. You can thank the debate over the Farm Bill for this, along with other factors at play, making it the perfect atmosphere to change our agriculture model. Baby boomers, who make up a large portion of our current farmer population, are retiring. Young farmers are facing high barriers to entry when starting out, as equipment and land are not cheap and loans are hard to come by. The number of migrant workers coming up from Mexico are dwindling, diminishing the cheap labor source mass production farms rely on. Another large player in this changing model is you and how you chose to shop. Food recalls and the attention to food safety has more consumers investigating where their food originates and how its grown. The rise in popularity of eating local and farmers markets are showing that small-scale production can work. That’s a good argument supporting that perhaps the tide is ready to turn.

Image via the New York Times

So what will happen? Only time will tell, but you can help insure that local food and entrepreneurs thrive by continuing to shop locally at locally-owned grocers & farmers markets and eating at restaurants that source local ingredients. Support small farms and young farmers in any way you can. Some take on volunteers to help with the crops. Join a CSA or other subscription program to help insure their income. Write to your elected officials and ask them to support bills that support small farmers and local businesses.

Read the New York Times article to learn more about the changes taking place in our agricultural model, as well as innovative startups that are taking new approaches to farming and the existing agricultural model. I’m excited about former Marine Christopher Brown’s idea to build an organization that will bring more veterans into the local farming movement, among many of the other great ideas presented.

Local Love,
Jess