Now that you’ve got some food sources in mind, it’s time to put this info into action. The next four weeks we’ll be making a point to be intentional about shopping, cooking and preserving so you get the most out of your foray into eating locally and may even wish to continue!
As mentioned in the beginning, each week from here will be broken down into parts:
Shop: Go back to your list of local food sources, and visit the ones that will get you what you need this week! Select the days that your local sources are open and/or available and build this into your schedule for the week. It’s a good idea to sit down on a day when you have more time each week and plan out a general meal plan (based on what’s in season…) Eating locally means that you have to be flexible, of course, but it’s also helpful to have a general idea of what you are going to make. Some people do best planning BEFORE shopping, while others like to shop, pick, see what’s available first and then make the plan. Do what works best for your family.
Cook: Now for the fun part! You have all of these amazing fresh ingredients….now what? It’s time to start experimenting with some new recipes and ways of prepping and enjoying them! One of the best things about getting your food close to home is that it really doesn’t take much to make it taste good – especially if it’s grown without chemicals. Most fresh fruits and veggies can be enjoyed raw or lightly steamed/prepared – takes almost no time and you get all the nutrients from the food.
Take a look at what you had access to from your CSA box, your market stand or your garden. What are your option for meals this week? How can you best use what you have?
Eat: You’ve gotten your food locally, you’ve prepared it to eat, and now it’s time to enjoy it mindfully. So often in our culture we are rushing from one thing to the next, and for many of us, eating becomes just another chore. But eating can be such a joy! As you go through these weeks, make a point to sit down for your meals (at least once a day at minimum) and enjoy your food slowly and with intention. You’ll taste it more fully, and you’ll probably be more satisfied at the end of the meal.
Preserve: Depending on the season and your location/sources of food, you may sometimes (or always..) end up with more than you can eat in one week. We recommended taking a bit of time each week to preserve some of your abundance to be enjoyed later in the year when it’s not so readily available. You may even wish to purchase in bulk for certain things (tomatoes, berries, apples, etc) and can, ferment, freeze or dry them when they are at their peak ripeness, the cheapest and most abundant.
A great book to get you started on food preservation is Janet Chadwick’s Busy Person’s Guide to Preserving Food.
You can also chat with your local growers, as many of them likely spend plenty of time putting up food during the harvest season.