Welcome to the Eat Local! Campaign
September 16 update:
Hello, Eat-Local Friends!
Our final week of the Eat Local! Campaign (Sept 19-25) starts with a burning question: How do we continue to eat local after the garden’s put to bed and the farmstands have folded up?
Answer: Save the bounty now for later by drying, freezing, canning, fermenting, pickling, and root-cellaring! Nourish your body with local, healthy food and savor the satisfaction of knowing you can feed yourself and your family year-round.
Ready to join the growing number of folks who don’t panic when the grocery shelves empty out? Start with the tips below.
1. Harvest or purchase a locally available crop (home garden, u-pick, farmstand, grocery).
2. Decide how you want to preserve those tomatoes, potatoes, berries and other crops for a burst of summer goodness when the cold days set in. You’ve got a banquet of choices: watch this “Preserve Skagit” 1-minute video at https://youtu.be/dlvxNZV7NXk
3. Want some help? Try a Zoom session on Sept 29th to learn about preserving fall fruits. Find out how to process fruits such as apples, pears, and grapes using the water-bath canning method as well as freezing and drying methods. Get tips and tricks to process and preserve large quantities so you can enjoy fall fruits all year long. WSU Extension instructor Jennie Bryan-Goforth is trained as a Food Safety and Preservation Specialist, is a former Master Gardener, and in her non-WSU life has been an organic farmer for nearly 20 years. Sign up here: ( https://www.eventbrite.com/e/preserve-fall-fruits-tickets-165985068809 ) Jennie did a great presentation for Transition Fidalgo and as WSU Skagit Food Preservation Coordinator is happy to take your questions. Want to know the best recipe to use for preserving your produce? Have a question about safely preserving food? Ask Jennie at email@example.com.
Finally, to wind up our Eat Local! campaign in a very special way, we’d like to invite you to attend the S & S Homestead Farm Tour, October 17, 11-2PM, at 2143 Lopez Sound Rd, Lopez Island. This farm belongs to Henning and Elizabeth, whom many of you know as the authors of the recently published Eating Locally and Seasonally book. There will be a 20-30 minute presentation on carbon-free living and building an ecologically sustainable local food system, with Q&A. Sale of pizza lunch made from all-farm ingredients, and attendees can wander the farm and ask questions. RSVP at
https://www.farmtourssanjuans.com/event-details/s-s-homestead-farm-talk-on-carbon-free-living-pizza Let us know if you’re up for it and we’ll get a carpool going!
This campaign is in partnership with Transition groups on Fidalgo Island, Lopez Island, San Juan Island, and in Port Townsend
Why eat locally and seasonally?
Imagine the supply lines for food shipped to Fidalgo Island disrupted, as happened during the pandemic and as could happen just as easily after an earthquake. Now imagine instead a large-scale, vibrant local food system with farmers producing here or in the Skagit Valley all the meat, produce, dairy and grains that we eat daily.
There are many reasons to eat local, but one important reason is this: in order to make a local food system a reality, farmers need eaters – that’s all of you out there – committing to purchase the food shared at local farm stands, CSAs, farmers markets, Co-ops, and grocery stores.
Eating locally and seasonally not only increases food security and preserves a local farm economy, but it helps cut carbon emissions by reducing food miles, and nourishes us with fresh, nutritious, delicious food!
Why else should I join the campaign?
- Tastes better
- Love my farmers
- Better for my family
- Alternative to corporate food
- Better for the planet
- To see if I can!
- Be an example to others
How to start the Eat Local! adventure
- Inspiration: Read Vicki Robin’s report of her first 10-day local food challenge in 2014.
- Consider your definition of local – some use their island, some their state as their boundary, some within 100 miles. The idea is to set the bar high enough so you stretch, but low enough so you’re pretty sure you can do it. Choose your number of “exotics” (foods so essential to our well-being that excluding them could be a deal breaker). Vicki picked 10. What are yours – oil, avocado, chocolate, coffee, tea, spices?
- Sourcing local food in the Skagit Valley: Check out farmers markets, local food co-ops, CSAs, backyard gardens, grocery stores, and farmstands. Visit Eat Local First’s WA Food – Farm Finder to explore your options for local products here in the Skagit Valley.
- More Inspiration: Purchase or download a pdf copy of Eating Locally and Seasonally: A Community Food Book for Lopez (and all those who want to eat well). This is a comprehensive guide to growing, cooking, and preserving local food and learning how to transition to seasonal eating. Includes a wealth of wonderful recipes! It’s available at Waterfront Bookstore or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can arrange to get you a copy.
Now Ready, Set….Join the Eat Local! Campaign
JULY, AUGUST, SEPTEMBER 2021
Eat Local 1 (July 11-17) – EXPLORING
- Watch the kick-off encouragement from Vicki Robin that she gave us via Zoom on July 11.
Here is the link to that talk (edited version)
- Select one food (or more) and commit to sourcing it locally beyond this week.
- Explore where you can find this food locally (grow it yourself, farm stands, local markets, Farmers Markets). Eat Local First website has a user-friendly Food & Farm Finder for your area. Plan visits to local farms and farm stands.
- Find multiple ways to incorporate this food into your weekly menu.
- Watch Henning Sehmsdorf’s “Meatballs” video with discussions to follow, exploring participants’ questions, concerns, triumphs, hurdles
- And at the bottom of this page is a list of local providers with links to their websites!
Eat Local 2 (August 8-14) – SHARING
- Within your definition of “local,” see how close you can come to eating that way for the week.
- Keep a personal log and/or blog about your experience.
- Exchange recipes with other attendees.
- At the end of the week, watch another of Henning’s video demonstrations followed by a discussion of your own experience. What were the fun aspects/challenges of eating as locally as possible?
Eat Local 3 (September 19-25) – PRESERVING
- Harvest or purchase a locally available crop (home garden, u-pick, farmstand, grocery).
- Attend an in-person or Zoom session to learn about preserving. Henning will be making a video about four different ways to preserve tomatoes (canning, dehydrated, paste & sauce) and there will be instructions on freezing berries.
- Prepare your selected food for preservation at home, with friends, or at a nearby commercial kitchen (canning, pickling, freezing, dehydrating). Click here for a link to several methods for preserving your food.
- Attend a local get-together to exchange preserved food and discuss pros/cons of different methods.
- Join with other Eat Localers to debrief your experience over the three weeks of the campaign. Attend the S & S Homestead Farm Tour on Lopez in October.
Places to find local foods
On Fidalgo Island…
Anacortes Farmers Market: Saturdays through Oct. 30, 9-2 pm, at the Depot, 7th and R Ave. Sign up for their newsletter at https://anacortesfarmersmarket.org/ and you’ll see what vendors will be on hand each Saturday.
Anacortes Co-op: Open Mon-Fri (10-6 pm) and Sat & Sun (11-5 pm) at 2308A Commercial Ave. This is a member-owned grocery providing foods that are local, organic or sustainably grown. http://www.anacortesfoodcoop.com/
The Farm at 41st: This CSA (community-supported agriculture) also has a farm stand at 1119 41st Street (just east of Mt. Erie school) that’s open Tuesdays and Fridays 11am-6pm. Todd and Sara offer fruits, veggies, goat cheese, honey, eggs, grass-fed beef, & flowers. https://www.thefarmon41.com/the-stand
Island Hospital Farm Stand: This stand in the 24th Street courtyard is open every Tuesday, 11-4pm through September 7. It offers local produce, artisan baked goods, fresh-cut flowers and more. Don’t forget to bring your reusable bags! https://www.islandhospital.org/blog/island-hospital-farm-stand-2021/ Special bonus: the stand is a convenient place to pick up Water Tank Bakery breads, produced in the Skagit Valley (see next section)
In the Skagit Valley…
Skagit Valley Farm Stands: From Blackburn Gardens and Bow Hill Blueberries to Harmony Fields and the Samish Bay Cheese Farm, the Skagit Valley is a cornucopia of delicious, nutritious foods. For food stand descriptions and directions, visit https://genuineskagitvalley.com/farmstand-fresh/
Skagit Valley Food Co-op: Since 1973, the SV Co-op has provided natural, wholesome, organic, and local foods at fair prices. They feature more local produce than any other grocery in the County, from farmers who have done business with the Co-op for decades. 202 S 1st St, Mt Vernon. http://www.skagitfoodcoop.com/
Water Tank Bakery: All products are baked exclusively with NW grown grains, milled at Cairnspring Mills. Flours are stone-ground and used fresh in order to retain much of the wheat’s natural oils, fats, and vitamins. On Fidalgo, you can pick up their baked goods at the Island Hospital farm stand (above). https://www.watertankbakery.com/
Cairnspring Mills: This Burlington business creates flours using grains from “local regional farms that use organic and other regenerative growing methods to protect the soil and produce cleaner harvests.” https://cairnspring.com/
Stumbling block breakthrough: You may have heard, or said yourself, that “Local, organic food is too expensive. I just can’t afford it.” Did you know folks used to pay a third of their household budget on food? But that was back when mortgages or rents weren’t crushing people. It’s understandable food costs are a concern for many now. But ask yourself this: what’s the true cost of buying and eating chicken, pork or beef raised in factory farms? The real story behind that deal of a price is a whole lot of misery going into your mouth. Or, what’s the true cost of veggies bred for distance, not taste or nutrition? A whole lot of emissions driving global warming. What’s the true cost of pesticides and herbicides used to grow the foods you may be eating? Collapsing bee and other insect populations. What’s the true cost of supporting Big Ag instead of those you know who are treating the land with the love and respect it needs to flourish? A frightening lack of plant diversity, and the loss of nutrient-rich soils. (Some experts predict that at current erosion rates, we’ll run out of farmable soil in just 60 years.)
So what, in essence, is the hidden cost of cheap food? The unacceptable degradation and destruction of a major life-support system.
As someone said, every purchase you make is a vote for the way you want the world to be. Here’s a great way to build that world and help the local food budget: eat seasonally! When it’s strawberry or apple, zucchini or bean time, stock up! Make jams, pickle, dry or freeze food, bake casseroles and breads. Use what the land and farmers so bountifully provide when the season is upon us. This is how we once all ate and how we need to eat again.
Update: July 21, 2021
Hello, Eat-Local Friends!
We’ve completed Week #1 – “Exploring” – of the Eat Local! campaign, in which we scoped out local places to source foods and gave some thought on how to prepare for Week #2 (Aug 8-14) – eating all-local! If you missed the first week (July 11-17), it’s not too late to join in. Oh, and don’t forget to check out the recipes below!
Again, why is eating locally so important?
- Because depending on an industrialized food system leaves us vulnerable to shortages and price jumps that we’ve seen happen with pandemics, increasing weather-related disasters, and even cyberattacks, such as the one in May that may shut down 9 meat processing plants. It also leaves us dependent on a corporate system whose bottom line is profit, not plant diversity, not the survival of pollinators, and not the health of the soil (or us!)
- To nourish body and soul with flavorful food rich in nutrients and grown responsibly. When making food choices, ask yourself: what kinds of energy, chemicals, destruction, and transport are embedded in that food? What am I supporting with purchases that take only price into account? What are the real costs of that food?
- To help build a strong local food system that supports local growers and increases our community’s resilience.
Week #2 – “Sharing” – August 8-14th
Ready to take the next step? To review from Week #1, here’s how you start…
- First, define “local” in a way that works for you. Grown on Fidalgo Island? Grown in the Skagit Valley? On Fidalgo-Whidbey? Within a 100-mile radius? Within Washington state?
- Second, pick 10 “exotics” you feel you can’t live without. Olive oil, spices (can be one category!), chocolate, coffee, avocados? That’s fine — “eat largely local” works too!
- Third, explore where you can get local produce, dairy, breads, and meats. (Check our list of sources at https://www.transitionfidalgo.org/eatlocal/ )
The above gets us ready for our August week of eating all-local. Sharing ideas and questions, recipes and menus, is an important part of the August all-local week, so let us hear from you how it’s going! Let us know what you’re cooking up by emailing us at email@example.com.
Besides all the delicious, healthful food we’ll be eating, participants will have the added treat of a potluck at S&S Homestead Farm on Lopez Island. We’ll have a chance to meet Henning and Elizabeth, farmers for 50 years, and authors of Eating Locally and Seasonally, and share good conversation and good food with each other in a stunning farm setting. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Blueberries are coming on strong now, so here are a couple of recipes to turn those blues to smiles.
Blueberry Muffins (from Eating Locally and Seasonally)
There are simpler recipes for blueberry muffins available, but none we have tried result in the deep flavor, crunchy top and tender texture of this one.
1 C sugar
1/2 C butter, softened
2 large eggs
2 T grapeseed oil (or other flavorless vegetable oil)
3/4 C sour cream
1/2 C milk
2 T grated lemon peel
3 C flour
1 T baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
3/4 t salt
2 C fresh or frozen blueberries
Grease 16 muffin cups. Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Stir in one egg at a time until well mixed. Add oil, and stir to combine — an electric mixer works well. Whisk sour cream, milk, and lemon zest into butter mixture until smooth. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir half the flour mixture into the butter mixture until combined. Add remaining half of flour mixture and blueberries into the batter, folding together until just combined. (If you over stir, the batter will toughen.) Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups. Place muffin tins on the center rack of the oven and bake
at 375 until tops are golden, and a knife inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, 20-30 minutes.You can sprinkle muffins with sugar before baking.
And from Skagit Valley’s own local flour mill, Cairnspring Mills in Burlington, check out this delectable recipe for blueberry scones at https://cairnspring.com/blogs/recipes/blueberry-cream-scones