The annual Maryland Buy Local Challenge is coming up in July. Although I’m a year-round local eater, I want to take this opportunity to up my own game. So I’m going to start training for the Challenge, like people train for marathons (okay maybe, half-marathons or 5Ks), bulking up my local food sourcing muscles, pacing my shopping and storing up my reserves to deliver a personal best when it counts.
The Buy Local Challenge is not very hard – eat one locally sourced food every day for 10 days. I think I could more easily count the days on which I don’t eat a locally sourced food – mostly when I’m traveling or at business (non-food system) meetings where they feed us – than the days when I do. It might be a simple as a bit of apple butter on a piece of toast, or it might be the beef in my pasta sauce or the pork in my barbecue. But ironically, I feel like I’ve gotten lazy over the past couple of years while working on my book about eating local! My Buy Local Challenge is going to be to eat at least one meal composed exclusively of local ingredients every day of the challenge week. By exclusively I mean Spike Gjerde-level hardcore: no olive oil, no black pepper, nothing that doesn’t have a direct connection to the soil or water of Maryland, DC, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania or Delaware.
Over the next few weeks, I’m going to look more closely at what I’m eating daily, what substitutions I can make, or what recipes and cooking methods I need to pull out of my repertoire as seasonal harvests start to fill farmers markets. Are you going to take the Challenge?