The Challenge

There are so many different foods to find at the market – an array of fresh, vibrant veggies, bakeries, honey, beef, flowers, even ostrich! “I really need to start taking advantage of this,” I thought.

So here it is. I’ve been wanting to do something for awhile. To truly challenge myself to eat locally, healthier and enjoy the foods that are all around me, in season. Now I’ve decided on how to do it.

The Challenge

I want to truly explore the amazing foods southern Wisconsin creates. This means no fast-food chains, or restaurants that ship-in their food. Only foods produced in southern Wisconsin. To set a more specific target – from Memorial Day until Labor Day I will eat foods from only three locations:

  • The Farmers’ Market – Mainly the Dane County Farmers’ Market, but any local farmers’ market is in the “okay zone.”
  • Local Farmers – Whether I venture to the farm, get food from the CSA, or get local food from the grocery store, if its not purchased at the farmers’ market, it must still come from a local farmer.
  • Local Companies – This subset applies mostly to beverages, which aren’t widely available at the farmers’ market. Beverages must also be local. Thus, local apple juice. No orange juice.  I’ll also apply this subset to any other locally produced products I come across during my challenge – meats, eggs, breads. (Note: I’m 23 and live in Wisconsin, in the summertime. Thus, out of being realistic, alcohol doesn’t count in this challenge. Only “food.” I would argue that orange juice is food, a whiskey soda, is not.)

To keep track of my progress, I’ll post a farmers’ market grocery list each week, talk to local farmers to give you the “inside scoop” and record my recipes. Hopefully this will become a helpful “how-to” for anyone to eat from their local farmers’ market, wherever it may be.

Now, thinking about my lifestyle. I know that I need to be as completely transparent as possible and lay down two “exceptions” for this challenge.

  • Not buying local when I am not in southern Wisconsin. Indeed, it will be most difficult to purchase food made in Wisconsin when I am not actually in Wisconsin, thus, I will apply my “local” theme to any state or city I am in while there and try to eat what is locally produced in that city. As, when most  travel, I will not have a kitchen to use, I will most likely be eating out and will try to record where in whichever city I am in has the best local food.
  • Not having control over others. I can’t control what my family and friends do. Thus, when I’m at home in Milwaukee, at a friend’s barbecue, or even a work function, I will be polite and eat what my host has to offer. If I must bring a dish to pass, however, I will make sure its made from my previously set criteria.

Anything I make during the summer 2010 will come from local farmers in Madison. My end goal? Turn this into a lifestyle, rather than a challenge.

Any comments, suggestions, questions, I’d be happy to hear them.

Let the countdown to Memorial Day start. I’m excited!

In the wise words of one we all adore, “You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients.” – Julia Child.

Bring on the fresh ingredients.

3 Responses to “The Challenge”

  1. Erin Says:

    How exciting! We look forward to watching your progress. You’re probably familiar with the Farm Fresh Atlas http://www.reapfoodgroup.org/atlas/index.htm already, but just a reminder that it will be a great resource while you’re on this journey.

  2. steve Says:

    Tempting… …very tempting!

  3. rose Says:

    Very cool!! I went to Beloit College (class of 1988), and rowed crew on the lakes of Madison. I always said if Madison had mountains, I would move there in a minute! Alas, I live in Santa Fe. And while New Mexico has a strong agrarian culture, I believe Wisconsin has the edge. Have fun experiencing your great local produce, meats, beer and cheese!! All the best to you!!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: