There are a myriad of reasons to eat local. Local food tastes better. Local food is better for the environment. Local food supports your economy. Local food will make you part of the cool crowd.
What I never expected from local food was that it makes things easier. I like cooking, but I do not like meal planning. There are too many possibilities. With aisles and aisles of groceries including dozens of different ethnic ingredients available I just don’t even know where to start.
Too many choices actually causes more stress for people. It’s one of the reasons I ask my preschooler ‘Do you want to wear your purple dress or your blue dress?’ instead of watching her tear every piece of clothing out of her dresser and throw them on the floor. At the very least it’s less stress for me.
Local food does the same for me; do you want to eat the cherry tomatoes or the asparagus? Or in the fall; the pumpkin or the sweet potato?
All I have to do is check out what’s available, either at the farmer’s market or from Wendy’s Mobile Market and fill my fridge. When it comes time to cook I just work with what I’ve got. Cherry tomatoes or asparagus? Last night, cherry tomatoes.
Eating like this has also lead to my family trying different things and having a much more varied diet than we would have had otherwise. Obviously the seasonal availability plays a huge part, but in addition to that I have learned to start working with ingredients in different ways. Before cherry tomatoes were something I might toss into a salad or add to a shish kabob if I was feeling particularly ambitious. The nice thing about food that has been grown locally is that it lends itself well to quick simple dishes. This took all of 10 minutes to throw together. A simple balsamic dressing to highlight the flavour of the tomatoes and some chives thrown in for their fresh tones.
I’m looking forward to when my vegetable share starts from Salt of the Earth Farm. Then I really won’t have to make any decisions! I’ll be able to just work with what I have and keep my (very limited) energy for the kitchen. When I can get my hands on some fresh basil I will switch out the chives in this recipe. A little fresh mozzarella would make this a heartier side. One of the biggest secrets of real cooking? Recipes evolve, in a cookbook they might look permanent, but in a real kitchen things are always being added or changed. Local food works the same way. Right now I have chives in my fridge to add, later I will have basil. Processed food and most restaurants rely on static, standardized recipes today. Cooking developed in a world where what was on our plate depended on what was in the field. I like that my kitchen is now a place where the field fills my fridge. Although technically in this case the tomatoes came from a greenhouse. Marinated Cherry Tomatoes with Chives
- Cherry Tomatoes
- 1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
- 1/4 Cup Honey
- 1/4 Olive Oil
Wash and slice the tomatoes. Wash and slice the chives. Mix with the tomatoes. In a small pot mix balsamic vinegar, honey, olive oil and salt and pepper. Heat on medium until honey has dissolved. Let cool. Toss the dressing into the tomatoes and let sit for a few hours.