Monday, September 20, 2010

A new season brings new challenges....

As a kid I always loved the start of the new school year. It was the perfect chance to re-invent your style, new course topics to explore and reuniting with friends after a summer apart (I always spent my summers away so I didn't really see classmates June-Aug).

Even now as an adult, I still get the urge to start fresh every September. Whether it is the little changes like switching the closet from summer to fall clothes or bigger life challenges that you create for yourself I always get the urge to reinvent.  This year I am going for the lifestyle challenge and thought I would share it w/ you all. Plus once I throw out there to the world, I have to follow up on it!

Over the past 4 months I have explored various blogs about men and women who are making the conscious effort to eat simple, healthy and local food.  Sounds simple right? But lets think about it, shall we.... That is all fine and dandy in August or September when the harvest is bountiful and every farm stand from here to NY is open. But what's a girl to do when come January when my dear city of Boston is covered in a layer of icey brown snow and there isn't a fresh local tomato to be found?!

So my blog world friends, this Sailing Foodie is on a mission this fall season to get out there and educate herself on local food sources that are year round.  Where are the local butchers, cheese makers, farmers w/ winter veggies?  I am not exactly sure how I am going to go about this but here are a few questions rolling around in my brain:
  1. Who are my local food producers?
  2. Where/who distributes these ingredients?
  3. How will I need to adapt my day to day diet to "eat local"?
  4. What can I do at home to make my fall/winter diet more colorful (ie: winter indoor garden, canning etc..)
  5. How much more $$ am I willing to pay for local and organic goods?
  6. How local is local?
  7. Do I give up my love affair with Trader Joe's and things like Parmigiano Reggiano for the sake of a sustainability?!
I don't think I am ready to go cold turkey and give up TJs or the occasional imported treat nor do I think drastic life changes like that are good for anyone. However, I do want to be more educated about where my dinner came from. 

So where is an uneducated foodie to start you ask?  Well yesterday while on one of my infamous city walks (we will get into those 15 mile walks another day!) I decide that I was going to check out the Harvest Coop in Cambridge, MA on Mass Ave.  This market which is right off the red line Central Square stop was the perfect choice!  The market is a member-owned natural food store who's mantra is "Bringing good food to good people".  The coop not only gives dividends back to its members but also supports local producers and educates its community.  Harvest Coop also has a second location in JP as well.

During yesterday's adventure I shopped for a few items (had to tote them all back on the T, and well.. I am no sherpa... Mental note to look into push cart for this old lady!).  I purchased Cortland Apples from Western Ma, peppers from the North Shore and a few prepared items created by the workers at Harvest.  As I perused I noted that they had a large variety of bulk spices, grains, granola and flours for sale by the lb and Wine/Beer section! I don't know about you, but anytime this girl can get local cheese, wine, beef and the spices to go with it at one location, she is a happy girl!

OK, OK... enough rambling for now.. so the point of this long random blog post?  I am setting out on mission to better educate myself on what I eat, where it comes from and what its impact on my community in it.  What do I hope to get out of it and whats next?

  1. A healthier me (i mean really, who would love to drop a pant size or have super shiny hair!)
  2. Creating a better understanding of my community of food producers surrounding me
  3. Research local producers of the following:
    1. Meat/Chicken/Fish
    2. Cheese
    3. Produce (year round)
    4. Grains, spices etc...
  4. Look into a meal plan that is focused around seasons and not just the newest trend on the Cooking Channel.
So, what do you think?  Am I crazy for attempting this or do you also feel inspired to slowly learn more and adapt your eating habits with me?!  Do you have any tips on where and who I should be talking too?

Would love to hear everyone's feedback!