One Local Summer – Week 1

  • Food Photography

It’s an art! Who knew? The shopping and the cooking and the eating were fun – that is one of the rules of One Local Summer – but the photographing not so.

  • Dinner 

 This was our dinner tonight, for the first edition of One Local Summer:

our dinner for One Local Summer - first edition (c) Katrien Vander Straeten

I’m a vegetarian and since I was the one cooking, it was a vegetarian meal.

We’re in Brookline, Mass, a suburb of Boston, and we have a fantastic Farmer’s Market on Thursdays. Which I duly visited to purchase tonight’s ingredients:

I usually buy from the same farm stand, a small organic farm near Northhampton, Mass, which is 101 miles away – yes: exaclty 101 miles! Less as the crow flies, but then we’re counting truck miles, not crow miles… From them I got:

  1. Swiss chard
  2. Asparagus
  3. Garlic
  4. Garlic scapes

From another stand, a Low Spray farm, the location of which I didn’t find out, but it’s within Massachusetts – let’s say, also 101 miles:

  1. Tomatoes (greenhouse)

From my potted herb garden, that is, 0 – zilch – nada miles:

  1. Herbs (sage, taragon, Italian basil, thyme, oregano)

And from the Clear Flour Bread in Allston, which is 2 miles away (I’ll call them tomorrow to ask where they get their flour from – cf. UPDATE below):

  1. A buckwheat walnut loaf

The great unknowns but almost certainly not local are:

  1. Butter: I cooked everything in butter, thinking our usual olive oil probably comes from even further away!
  2. Salt
  3. Pepper

To my horror, I found out that certain ingredients that are very common in my kitchen – potatoes, onions, and mushrooms – aren’t in season yet, or simply not available. This turned out to be a blessing, really, because the chard tasted much nicer without the onions. I am very grateful for the juicy and oh so soft new garlic, though!

  • Dessert

strawberries for dessert for One Local Summer first edition

These also came from the organic farm near Northhampton in Mass – 101 miles away. They were so deliciously sweet and juicy that I bought two pounds of them: $5 a pound because they were closing up and they were the last ones: a bit bruised, but no less tasty!

At first I was thinking of making a cake or some such with them (with King Arthur Flour) and some local eggs, and butter and sugar… sigh. I just needed to pop one into my mouth to realize they are delicious by themselves! So that’s how we had them.

  • How did I do?

So how did I do, as a “locavore” (Liz’s and Kingsolver’s word)?

Not so well, in my opinion. I still don’t know where many of my ingredients come from, and at the Market itself wasn’t assertive or present enough to ask. 

Finding out that that organic farm, that I get 90% of my groceries from at the Market, is 101 miles away was a shocker.  (Is it fair to count those 101 only once for the produce I got from there? They all came in one and the same truck….)

The point being, we have many farms much more local, many of which offer CSA’s. More importantly, Brookline itself – my own town – has a farm: Allandale Farm, which calls itself “Boston’s Last Working Farm,” whose crops are Certified Naturally Grown using organic methods. They have their own farm stand – a beautiful one, too.

For our next One Local Summer meal, I’ll go shopping there. Need to get those miles down!

  • A word of thanks 

For Matt (Fat Guy on a Little Bike) for letting us late-comers join in anyway!

  •  UPDATE

I called Clear Flour Bread the ingredients of their lovely buckwheat walnut are for the most part from the midwest. Only the organic buckwheat is somewhat local: it is milled and grown in Westport, NY (about 200 miles from here).

Join the Conversation

2 Comments

  1. Actually, we *are* counting crow miles. :) Look at a map of MA, and draw a circle around where you live. If 100 miles feels too restrictive, expand the circle. Mass. is not California, and as a newbie locavore you want to cut yourself some slack so you succeed.

    I think you did GREAT!! :)

  2. Thanks Liz!

    It’s a pleasure to do this: it’s allgood and well *talking* about it, but actually doing it, and such a supportive community, is a treat!

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