But I have also have a growing uneasiness with all this endless variety, and although we are still prone to regular lapses we are making significant changes in what and how we eat. Personally, we buy as much of our produce as we can from the organic section and from local farmer's markets. I am troubled by the lack of labelling required on meat and the fact that a steak (for instance) can be labelled an Alberta product if it was processed in Alberta but raised anywhere else in the world. Not to say that only good growing practices only happen in Alberta and all other places use less than optimal methods. Of course not. It's just that I have come to realize that I really do want to know more about my food. That global competition puts strange pressures on producers and leads to shortcuts with our food. Did you hear that? Shortcuts. With our food.
I have long been fascinated with the ideal of a so-called 100 mile diet, or the commitment that you eat as much food as possible that is produced as close to you as possible. Maybe even get to know some of the producers in your area. Possibly plant a garden of your own, or keep laying hens scratching around the yard... City and suburban living limits your options, but you certainly are not without any. I am absolutely not advocating a mango-free lifestyle, but I do think being intentional with the food you eat within your means and abilities can make a difference to the health of yourself, your family and your community.
As my awareness of the local abundance available has grown, so has my desire to capture the exciting options in a community showcase. How? By hosting a 'Celebration of Local Faire' dinner within my community.
After years of talking about it, I finally jumped in and decided to act on it with great support at St. Andrew's United Church in Spruce Grove. Last night I got to live out my little dream, and I loved every minute of it! I was a little concerned about what would be available in November; how 'good' can a person eat at that time of year? I didn't want to prepare a perfectly adequate meal for people; I wanted to create a meal that wowed people while highlighting the amazing bounty available in the area and supporting many local producers. My hope is that providing an excellent, locally sourced meal would help get people excited about finding food close to home. The result was a four course meal that I believe was enjoyed by everyone there; it turns out we can eat very good in November! The information I learned while researching menu items was a gift to me.
Northern Mushroom Soup
(Local Sources: Prairie Mushrooms, Mo-Na Foods, West Country Herbs, Saxby Creamery, Birds and Bees Organic Winery, The Branch Manager Farm, The Honey House)
Quiche/Fresh Garden Salad
(Local Sources: Rhonda's Eggs, The Cheese Factory, Riverbend Gardens)
Saskatoon Stuffed Roast Pork Loin/Garlic Roasted Potatoes and Carrots/Sauteed Kale/Saskatoon-Rhubarb Chutney
(Local Sources: Sandyview Farms, Pipestone Berry Farm, Peas on Earth, Mighty Trio Organics, Doef's Greenhouse)
Galettes (Buckwheat Crepes)/Raspberry Coulis/Whipped Cream
(Local Sources: Gold Forest Grains)
Tea, Coffee, Juice and Saskatoon Wine
(Local Sources: Chickadee Farms, Birds and Bees Organic Winery, Homestyle Beverages, Catfish Coffee)
(totally forgot to take pictures until dessert!)
Here are some Reasons to Support Local Producers: