Here at the end of the Localvore Challenge I can honestly say that the experience has had a pretty big impact on me. After only a week, I learned so much about the importance of buying and eating local. Additionally, I am in love with the flavors of buying what is in season. I mean, it just doesn’t get any better than that.
I am going to tell you right now, I participated to the best of my ability. There was a birthday party, there were a couple family gatherings, none of which served local food. But, when I was shopping and cooking, it was as local as I could get it.
It was said that the localvores made a major financial impact on the Green City Market. So much so that they actually weren’t really prepared for how much people were actually going to buy! This is great news.
There was a wrap up lunch at the Prairie Grass Cafe in Northbrook. We ate an amazing local meal made by Chef Sarah Stenger and Chef George Bumbaris. It consisted of mashed potatoes, roasted chicken, tomato salsa, greens, roasted pears, cheeses, and raspberry ice cream. The entire meal was bursting with flavor! The conversation was equally as interesting. We sat with a woman named Lisa who made it through the week eating 100% local. It was pretty impressive. She made some sacrifices which in the end she said she didn’t really miss. In the end, she was happy and forever changed, as most of us were.
We all discovered that there are certain things that just taste better fresh and local. Eggs for example. Whenever possible I will buy my eggs fresh. They are truly delicious. I mean, I really never knew that eggs could taste so good! Plus the woman who sold me the eggs told me the eggs I have bought at the grocery were about 2 months old. Her eggs were 3 DAYS OLD. There you go. That explains a whole lot.
I was asked by Lisa what my favorite meal was while eating local. I would have to say the quesadilla. The Tiny Greens Kitchen at the Green City Market makes an amazing quesadilla made up of their hand made tortillas, warmed up with goat cheese, lettuce, tomatilla salsa, tomatoes, and micro cilantro. I took a sample at the market last week and started to walk away. I quickly turned around and came back as the flavors and textures filled my mouth. I threw out a barrage of questions, “Do you sell those tortillas? Can I make this at home? What’s on it? How do I make the salsa? Do you have any micro cilantro left?” The chef sold me the tortillas ($10 for six, but well worth the price), told me the recipe for tomatilla salsa, and directed me to the micro cilantro. I think I ate that as part of a meal at least 4 times. It is my new favorite thing to eat these days.
So the challenge is over, which to me really only means that I will add things back to my cooking ingredients, but I certainly won’t subtract the aspect of buying and eating local.