Saturday, March 12, 2005

A Food Adventure Close to Home

Were you in Chile this winter? Mexico? California? Chances are, your food was. Most of the fresh food in our grocery stores comes from far away, crossing great distances in order that we might purchase whatever strikes our fancy at any time of year. Asparagus in fall. Strawberries in winter. Lettuce all year long. We take such luxuries for granted – in fact, we’ve forgotten they are luxuries at all.

A study in 1998 determined that produce arriving in Chicago had clocked an average of 1,518 miles or 2,448 kilometres. Since Saskatchewan is quite a bit further north of Chicago, a good number of our fruits and vegetables must travel more than 3,000 kilometres (2,000 miles) from the field to our dinner plates. That’s more well-travelled than most of us eating it!

I don’t want to eat food that was picked unripe, treated with preservatives, handled by numerous middlemen and trucked for days on end down busy freeways. I want to eat local foods, freshly picked in season, delivered by the hand that produced it. I want to buy locally and I want my food dollar to stay in my community.

To that end, I am embarking on a culinary journey that will bring me "Home for Dinner" – in other words, to eat primarily foods that are grown and produced here at home in Saskatchewan. For one year, I will stick faithfully to this local diet. I will find sources of local foods, meet the people producing it and develop recipes that make the most of it.

Here are my "Home for Dinner" rules:
*At least 80 percent of the food on my dinner table will be from Saskatchewan.
* I will eat in season when the foods are fresh, or I will preserve them for another day.
* I may purchase "imported" ingredients for recipes as long as there is no Saskatchewan equivalent, such as parmesan and cinnamon.
* I will grow my own food, or buy it direct from other producers.
* I will buy organic whenever possible.
* I will write about the experience and share it with others who want to bring their own families "Home for Dinner".

Come with me on this journey. You don’t need to adopt my rules – just try a Saskatchewan meal every now and then. And if you don’t live in Saskatchewan, you can resolve to be "Home for Dinner" wherever you call home.

1 comment:

Melissa said...

Fantastic plan! I'll be interested to see how your journey goes.