Begin 2013 By Eating Local on Meatless Monday

Jan 2013

Happy New Year all. It feels great to be back, and my vacation has definitely inspired me with lots of ideas for greening up 2013! With the New Year upon us, and resolutions swirling about, here are 10 easy ways to join the local movement. Your diet will become more delicious, and the advantages to the planet are numerous.

I know it’s popular to say that the locavore movement belongs to the hipster generation, or those with big pocketbooks. I have to disagree, and with a little extra effort it’s pretty easy to take advantage of what buying local has to offer and support the best of small production food artisans. It’s simpler than you think to eat locally. My list is Boston centric, but the ideas apply just about anywhere. No matter who you are, and no matter how much disposable income you have, it’s possible to begin transitioning your diet into a more delicious and sustainable one.

1. Start with one of my favorites-Dairy

Most New England grocery stores carry a few local options including Stonyfield, Cabot, Grafton Cheddar and Vermont Butter & Cheese Co. cheeses.

2. Read labels and choose the product that has travelled the least distance when a choice is possible.

3. Drink good beer-The Craft Cellar Brews in Belmont will overwhelm you with choices. They are a shop devoted to small brewers. Some of the best craft beer in the country is brewed in New England.

4. Eat fish-we do live near the ocean here folks. I am determined to learn how to clean a fish in 2013. Please hold me to it! Join the new, first-ever Boston area CSF (Community Supported Fishery) and have fresh fish from sustainable, family fisherman in Gloucester every week. They have local deliveries-Cape Ann Fresh Catch.

5. Visit a farmers’ market
There is a market every day of the week somewhere in the city, and there is probably one very close to where you live. Winter markets are plentiful in the Boston area, the Dorchester Winter Farmers’ Market started last Sunday, and I frequent the Newton Winter Market. Farm Fresh has a list for you.

6. Go shopping
Ok-this one should be a no brainer-right. Lionette’s Market, The Dairy Bar, Formaggio Kitchen {above}, Dave’s Fresh Pasta, Harvest Co-op, to name a few, all sell plenty of locally-produced items.

7. Have a canning party
When the fruit and veggies are abundant in the summer, gather your friends together and make an event out of it. Have a pot luck after you finish. Take the time to freeze blueberries, can tomatoes, make sauerkraut. You’ll have some hits and a few misses, as I can attest to. My sister and I had a canning party for holiday gift giving and had a blast.

8. Cook more often.
It’s not rocket science, it’s dinner! Vow to cook more, cook for friends, entertaining around a meal makes friendships stronger, I’m convinced! With all the fabulous cook books on the market these days, its a joy to look through them and plan meals. Pack a lunch, do it the night before. My husband loves it when a sandwich is waiting for him in the fridge.

9. Garden
Almost any amount of space is enough to grow herbs and greens, enough for a backyard stir-fry. When kids get involved in the process they are much more likely to experiment with new tastes, and fresh herbs add amazing favors to the simplest of meals. A window sill herb garden in the winter will do wonders.

10. Join a CSA

The CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) makes it cheap and easy to eat locally. You pay a farmer up front for a season’s worth of fresh, local, organic vegetables (or eggs, meat, or flowers) and they deliver the goods every week, or you pick them up at a convenient location. The variety of produce will make you a more creative cook, and your family will love it. Could you imagine how good these mushrooms must taste.

Well there you have it, let me know how you make out with shopping local.