What can you do with local foods? Why do we eat locally? Well, there’s a bunch of economic mumbo-jumbo I could get into, but the truth is we like the way it tastes. This was dinner on Saturday night:
Fresh green beans, ready to cook. They were sautee’d with garlic, EVOO, agave, and a bit of water.
Homemade pasta noodles with wilted kale, diced tomatoes, fresh cracked pepper, and sea salt. This was topped with Parmesan cheese at the table.
Salmon, poached in it’s own juices and butter infused with garden-fresh herbs.
For dessert, yogurt & fruit parfaits:
Local fruits are just starting to come in right now, and this dessert makes the most of their natural sweet, complex flavors. Peaches, plums, and apricots are topped by organic yogurt and a local honey that tastes like you’re eating the actual wildflowers. It’s all topped off with mango-ginger Stilton, which gives it a wonderful cheesecakey taste and texture.
This is the best reason to eat as local as you can that I can think of: it’s good. You can’t always get everything locally, such as the fish and cheese (though we did buy both at locally-owned shops), but adding in the seasonal items grown closest to home makes things so much tastier, fresher, and healthier. A peach picked within 24 hours of you eating it tastes so little like those fuzzy softballs you get at the store. There’s more than sugar to them, they’ve got a depth of flavor just like wine, with differences just as regional. And, like wine, there is a certain age when they are the best. And, this meal cost us far, far less than we’d spend going out. Actually, it cost us less than it would have if we’d purchased the same items at the grocery store.
But, for me, dollars aren’t the true cost of food. Nutritional value vs. dollars, taste vs. dollars, responsible purchasing vs. dollars. These are all choices that go into our foods, and sometimes the cheapest isn’t the best value.