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Eating local means growing your food at home + only eating at restaurants that serve foods grown locally,too!

I have covers on many of my crops right now for it is dipping into the single digits at night + teens during the day...windy+ dark!

I have covers on some of my  fall/winter crops right now for it is dipping into the single digits at night + teens during the day…windy+ dark but still harvesting!

I had the pleasure, this past weekend to go out to eat at Barley + Rye, a local restaurant. They only use food grown, in season from a 150 mile radius outside our city. If you ever get to this neck of the woods, do stop by and give this restaurant a visit. A few years ago, there was a book titled “ The 100-Mile Diet: A Year of Local Eating” by Alisa Smith + J.B. MacKinnon. It was written by two Canadians (2007) that restricted their diet, for one year, to include only foods grown within 100 miles radius of their residence. Many people jumped on the bandwagon to only eat food from a hundred mile distance from where they lived. It is a lot harder than you can imagine. It was an exciting challenge and many people who read this book wrote about 100-Mile Diet  on blogs, articles or did mini-films about the experience. It was not as easy to find substitutes for what they were regularly eating.


some of my Golden Chard is surviving under covers and will thaw out indoors…

I admired the chef at Barley + Rye for he took only local ingredients and made dishes from those vegetables /meats. It is a difficult task to get people to eat locally, for the food will have a different flavor since it is fresh. As I grow more of my produce on our city lot, I find eating out at local restaurants a challenge. Local restaurant menus are made from vegetables sent across many miles usually sitting on shelves for long periods + you can taste the difference. I was thrilled to go out to eat at Barley + Rye for their menu is made up of 90 percent locally grown from a 150 mile radius!


summer 2014- I would harvest these weekly yum!

Most people who eat a fresh grown tomato will never want another grocery store “blah” tomato again!


I found it interesting when one of the people, I was sitting next to at the restaurant asked for ketchup and the waitress answered, ” We have a house ketchup.” Wow!The ketchup was made from local tomatoes. They list the farms that they do business with locally. In the past, I had bought from these  farmers at the Davenport Freight House. I started growing our urban potager back in 2000 once I realized I could grow many of the foods on my city lot. What I can’t grow, I buy from local farmers. When you start eating more locally or growing your food, you will notice new flavors.It just tastes better,don’t you agree?


Kale leaves this time of year are just beautiful!!!


Kale is standing tall above the snow + wind daily in our urban potager…

I ordered the Brussel Sprout Salad, and I chatted with the waitress about the dish. The Chef made his Brussel Sprout salad by pulling apart the tiny leaves and flashing them in a pan individually. What an artistic creation this salad was for he served it in a beautiful “odd-shaped” bowl. I feel a chef that takes the time to cook + present their food in this way is an artist! Here, is their menu for this month…

The waitress said they had to change it for it was filled with many vegetables as cucumbers + tomatoes that were no longer available. I asked her if the Brussel Sprouts were local, and she said, “Yes” which thrilled me!


I call them  Winter Kale Trees

I had purchased Brussel Sprouts from the local farmers on their menu, so I knew the answer. I could not resist asking, “I bet you are eating a lot of kale?” She laughed for I knew; I have a lot of kale growing in my urban potager. Kale will handle cold extremes in the teens…


but that is for another post…Eating A LOT of Kale Lately? I don’t mind for it tastes best this time of year!

41 replies »

  1. Sounds a great restaurant Robbie and pleased to see another Brussel Sprouts lover, they are one of my favourite vegetables. I haven’t read that book though always intended to. It would be alot harder than it sounds, we try to do that but wouldn’t go without our coffee, dates, rice etc. But at the end of the day it comes down to commitment to that ethos, we could actually survive out of our garden if we wished to forgo a few things.

    • awww..Wendy, I would say you and Roger do a pretty darn good job of it! I know some people used the plant “chicory” I don’t know about that but I drink only herbal tea..but I would have to give up my green tea!
      The chef was watching us from where he cooked behind a wall. It took a bit longer to order the food, but he was putting it all together carefully-I could see his face:-)..I went with 5 other people and the dishes were pieces of artwork:-)
      I love my nuts, too, so I am not going to do the 100 diet. I try to eat local as much as I can + I agree trying to grow some of your own is a good effort+ a lot of work-which you know–but it tastes soooo good!

      • Homegrown or locally grown is far superior in taste. I tried chicory years ago when I was going through a healthier options phase, it doesn’t cut it for me I’m afraid. I like my homegrown herbal teas but enjoy my coffees too much. And nuts, we are fortunate to be around alot of nut growers so we get them very fresh and local….can’t imagine going without coconut though!
        I would’ve loved to see the dishes, I have a thing for nice, original dishes.

      • me,too! I tried chicory from Mountain Rose herbs and it did taste good but I gave up coffee years ago. I feel if I still grew coffee, I would support those sellers that give back to the farmers. I loved coffee + sometimes I sneak a cup or two but tend to drink more herbal teas + green tea- my go to for “pick me up ” caffeine—but boy do I miss my flavored coffee..just makes me too jittery after I gave it up for 5 years…so I just sniff my husband’s coffee-lol…

      • Yes, too much makes me jittery too, I do have to limit my intake. and I can really only drink instant now after years of drinking fresh coffee all day long and wondering why I was so antsy.When I met Roger he pointed out I had issues with my personality after drinking ground coffee 🙂

      • lol…I can made me hungry + crabby sometimes:-) but boy do I miss the smell!!! I wonder what fresh coffee tastes like just days away from the field, ground-YUM, I bet

  2. I was just thinking about this very matter yesterday. I think we import food stuffs that are unnecessary as they are grown here, yet still stuff from the US and SA , Australia and other far flung places grace the shelves. I don’t buy them, not only because of the giant footprint but also because of the fumigation that goes on when prduce is brought into this country. There cannot be much goodness left in the vegetable or fruit but there will certainly be a lot of chemical residue!

    I enjoyed eavesdropping on your conversation with Wendy 🙂 All our tea and coffee is imported – I’m a real coffee drinker, usually only one a day, but sometimes two. There are some things one just can’t do without!

    You have snow! It doesn’t seem that long ago that you had snow – it must be my perception of time – it is flying! I hope you are doing well and life is being good to you as the long journey into white begins. Much love, big hugs! xoxo

    • I agree + our country imports quite a bit. My mother always checks to make sure “farm foods” are raised in our country. She taught us well ( she has been doing that since the late 60’s) It is stupid to purchase it from across the sea when we can grow it on our land. I read labels more now than I did many years ago. It also decreases in antioxidants as it travels all those miles:-) Also “footprint” like you said:-) I try to eat in season but it is not as easy as it looks. You have to give up certain foods at times during the year. I just go without + it is not as bad as it sounds:-)I have food growing, but now I am starting my microgreens inside to help with those 8 weeks where my kale is eaten to the ground -lol-by me!!!. I eat a lot of winter cole crops + I am still getting Swiss Chard out of the garden. I’ll turn to Raddiccio leaves tonight for leafy greens. The Par-cel is trying to hold on, I let it thawout inside but it won’t be growing in this weather. Next year, I have to plant a lot more.
      I know my husband would not live without his coffee-lol. I have no problem with a product like that for it helps those farmers. If you purchase coffee that is sustainable- fair trade,rain forest alliance or orgainic…fair trade can be a bit more expensive but it goes to the growers + protects their families.
      Yes, we have snow and cold—our spring-summer-fall lasts from March/April-and this year as late as first week of May to October and sometimes we get a mild winter, but not now!! It is single digits + teens during the day…It is 26 today + that feels warm-lol

      • I eat a very simple diet and have learned to live without bread which was such an horrendous thought, but you just have to get your head around it and now I rarely miss it! No wheat for me. I grow microgreens all year round and they are pretty much a staple part of my diet. I only buy fairtrade organic coffee – it is slightly more expensive, but that is no the point. I am looking forward to seeing what my garden provides and tastes like 🙂 I am eating salad greens, celery and herbs and waiting on everything else. I haven’t ordered the parcel yet, I have run out of room and the season has been so cold and wet the growing conditions are not good. But I haven’t forgotten it!

      • You are a mentor to others:-) You have celery so you don’t really need the leaf celery/parcel:-) I grow parcel due to our short seasons. The celery, I did grow this year was doing great until it got down to the low teens. It bit the dust:-( The leaf celery is going under the snow-so I won’t be growing celery next year. You should have a good area for growing celery + shoot it is the same family just minus the stalks-lol. I am grateful, I have a choice of parcel/leaf celery:-)
        My husband makes homemade bread on the weekend-which uses USDA harvested organic wheat-we don’t have health issues with wheat but I do know several people that do:-( It is not easy. It is like being allergic to a certain food, you just learn to live without it. I am allergic to peanuts, so I had to learn to not have that wonderful source of protein! I can eat other nuts, so it is only one nut-lol

      • My celery is quite small due to being crammed into a less than ideal space – but it is giving me some stems 🙂 You have a fine husband there – the blogging world is full of fine husbands who create things in the kitchen. I never had one of those. You know a peanut isn’t a nut right? It’s a legume. I had a student once who had an extreme allergy to peanuts – it was a real concern and I even had to learn how to inject an adrenaline shot in case she ever inadvertently came in contact with one. I hope you aren’t to that extreme!

      • lol…funny thing- it has just become a habit all these years when people find out, I am allergic to nuts..they respond with ” Are you allergic to almonds, or other nuts”…just grew up never realizing that:-) I don’t grow peanuts at all in my garden( that type) for a peanut is a species in the legume or “bean” family (Fabaceae). This means, I am allergic to this specific species- go figure! lol..I eat other legume species by the bowl full. I never get that nasty taste in my mouth either. This is kind of like the tomato being a vegetable-lol-for scientifically it is a fruit:-)
        I had a reaction when I was 16 in a car high up in the mountains with my cousins. My throat started closing up after I ate some peanuts.It was not a fun experience. I found some antihistamine and I was good to go..I am not like some of the younger people today, they die. I figure mine is not so bad. My oldest daughter is allergic to bananas-crazy!

      • This is interesting to me ( just made me think of a tea I was drinking a year ago)- for I started drinking Rooibos tea/African red tea/ which is known as Aspalathus linear it is a member of the legume family, too. My mother was visiting + I was drinking a lot of thiw African bush tea for medicinal health reasons. I got a red face + itchy throat after I drank it too much. My mother pointed it out to me, but it was over a few days I had been drinking the tea. I went and got an antihistamine + read up on the tea + that is when I found this “tea” was made from a plant which is a member of the legume family…hmmm..very interesting. For I am allergic to certain plants which many of us are…so it seems it is specific. I did not have my throat close up , but I got VERY red faced + a little itchy-crazy!
        I also warn people to be careful when they try a new tea/food if it is in the same family of others you are allergic,too. Odd how we are allergic. The red aftican bush tea was amazing tasting-darn!!!

  3. Fresh does taste better! We are very fortunate to live in an agricultural valley with several organic farms and even several winter farmer’s markets. Exciting for a food lover! Hope you’re staying warm!

    • I am, Eliza it was only 26 today-lol!!! We are blessed to live in the Midwest for we feed the world-tee hee + we have a great indoor + outdoor farmer market year round:-)

    • but I wish we had a bit more “organic farms” like you do:-) We just don’t have much of a buffer area on our flat land! Those hills do help buffer the crops:-)

  4. Barbara Kingsovler has a similar book entitled “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: Our Year of Seasonal Eating”, again an experiment in only eating locally grown food for one year. Personally, I feel really proud when I put a dinner on the table that is all local food. And we are really lucky to have farmers neighbours where we can get our meat. It’s a challenge though to do it all the time. Great blog as always Robbie.

    • I’ll have to check that out:-) I know exactly what you mean- it does feel great when you put a meal on the table and it is all locally grown food! It was really neat to find a restaurant that was
      trying to do this in our community. There is a cafe up the street from me that served asparagus soup one spring-yum. I just put asparagus in my garden last year so I am hoping to make my own asparagus soup + it will be even closer!lol

      • Sounds great. Was tempted to try asparagus this year but our soil is quite heavy so not sure it would do well, though worth investigating:)

      • me too:-) I have clay soil but I just had to squeeze some in the back corner. I tried the purple one-which I am hoping will work. It takes a few years to establish. Interesting fact–my parents live up north where many of the people that came to America (from Europe) had farms in the early days. The early homesteaders started asparagus on their farms. She said the farms are gone but there are areas where the locals know asparagus grows+ go pick it in the spring….when you plant it, it is forever-amazing plant!

  5. Oh yum! Now I’m really hungry … there’s even delicious sounding dishes on that menu for me! On our migration South we are staying a few days in Ashville NC and eating dinner at Plant restaurant. Going out for us has taken on a whole new perspective since becoming Vegan. A lot of our restaurants here in Clayton NY use local ingredients – but don’t rely solely on local ingredients – a bit tough here in North Country but one of our local farmers, Dani Baker, grows in hoop houses. She is an inspiration and if you are ever this way you would want to tour her farm (she offers tours). It is called Cross Island Farms. The past few years we have seen some small farmer’s markets pop up which is great considering we are pretty much surrounded by farm country!

    • Oh you are so lucky:-) If I ever get there that would be a thrill to see a farm growing year round! I have thought about putting something in my yard to keep greens growing year round beyond my covers. I just have to carve out some space. I have an idea where I might be able to put one but it will take some time to set it up. It would not be large but having a covered area, heated by passive solar would be idea on the south-side of my house. I am working on it but as you know it takes time-lol. You have fun this year + don’t forget to keep us all posted to your “warm” escape. It is so darn cold here this past week, I could not even be outside without gloves for more than 10 minutes! It did warm up to 26 yesterday which felt warm!

  6. Hey Girl:
    I’m ravenous now. I hope you’re happy. (Big smile).
    Thanks for this interesting post. I wish I could grow veggies all year round. We do grow some herbs, and bottle some in oil too.

  7. Where I live it is easy to eat locally grown food. Fish comes round in a van once a week from the coast near bye, our butcher only sells locally grown meat, and we have a farm shop that grows its own vegetables and fruit. I grow my own too of course. At the moment I have parsnips, kale, leeks and chard.
    I couldn’t t give up tea, coffee, bananas, oranges or nuts. And now and again I like a mango or papaya.
    The awful thing is buying stuff that is imported when locally grown stuff is available. You see this with things like apples. And they sell asparagus from Peru when the local asparagus is in season and delicious.

    • That is so neat! You would think we would be local since we are the “Midwest of the USA” and we “Feed the World”-crazy we import food! I agree with you about certain things, I love citrus fruit, coffee( my husband drinks) and a few other things that I would not want to give up( California/Florida citrus) but it should not be all of it. Since we have Farmer Markets (indoor + out) now, we can get locally grown veggies throughout the winter. I am growing more food every year but one postive-The other day my husband was picking up some items from the grocery store + he noticed a sign “We now carry food from local farmers”-YEAH!!! Finally!!!
      I found out onions were imported from peru ( sweet ones) during the winter, so I now eat red ones locally + grow some:-) I put in a patch of asparagus last spring-I know it will take time-but I can’t wait! I also put in 7 dwarf fruit trees this past winter. I have some others but wanted more + dwarf at the back of my yard will work for they don’t get much taller or wider than 8-10 feet!
      I envy the fish but we do have fresh water fish which is often available:-) That is pretty neat to have Fish locally . If you go to the farmer market local meat is available locally and sometimes in the store,if you read packages + get it at the deli.

  8. Completely with you on the eating local thing. I attended a local sustainable living workshop and talked to a university lecturer who was starting an “eat local” challenge. She said that the only thing that we don’t grow ourselves here in Tasmania is enough grain to go round. There is a bit of spelt and a few pockets of oats but no wheat so bread would be out of the question but it is amazing what you unearth when you go hunting. That menu would leave me feeling VERY hungry! Nothing for a hungry narf there and please don’t point to the 3 salads. Poor vegans are constantly berated for not being ever so grateful for the salad option! 😉

    • You would of loved the brussle sproud salad I ate—he pulled apart the leaves of each sprout and flashed panned it( that is what she said?) it was so good, the dressing was AMAZING:-) I was so full after that salad + all of it was grown here:-) One lady had the arugula salad and did not care for it, another lady had a wonderful soup she enjoyed-house soup. Well, the other two gals did not say too much about their meals. It was a neat experience. I enjoyed the concept + will be taking my husband back next time-good excuse to try something else-lol
      I purchase my bread flour from an organic farm so I have it shipped in a huge bag from another USA farmer–yum, it is so good. My husband bakes the bread-I am the green one-lol

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