Submitted by Penny Hillemann (penelopedia)
Over the past two or three years I’ve tried to add more local foods to my regular grocery shopping. What I didn’t anticipate is that I would love these foods so much. Not only are they locally produced, but they’re great by any standards. Some of my favorites include:
- Whole Grain Milling Co. tortilla chips – These are the heartiest, corn-iest, fullest-flavored tortilla chips I’ve ever had. Once you’ve eaten these, there’s just no going back to the standard brands. I’ve hooked some of my colleagues on these, too. I try to limit myself to the occasional bag of these so I don’t OD.
- Sno-Pac frozen berries and vegetables – Convenience meets local and organic meets tasty-as-can-be. The corn kernels are the sweetest I’ve encountered in a frozen corn. (Do you get the impression I like corn? I do!) For eating local in winter, how could it be easier than this?
- Salsa Lisa salsa – This has been my favorite salsa since before I started thinking about local foods. If you like big chunks of peppers and onion in your salsa, this is not the salsa for you. If you like a fresh-tasting, tomatoey, juicy, garlicky salsa of an even consistency– small chunks, not big hunks – this might be the best salsa you’ve ever tried.
- Dairy products and beef from local, grass-fed cattle – Cedar Summit milk; Pastureland butter; Thousand Hills Cattle Company beef… these are all fantastic. The more we learn about the benefits of pastured dairy and beef cattle, the more it makes sense to invest in these products that are not only exceptionally good-tasting but contain a healthier balance of fats than conventional dairy products and beef.
- Just Bread – the multigrain bread made for Just Food Co-op by our local Brick Oven Bakery. This is the best bread ever, in my book, and when, eventually and inevitably, I suppose, they stop making it – hopefully years and years from now – I don’t know what I’ll do. Their other breads are also very, very good.
For the Winter Eat Local Challenge, I plan to supplement all of the above, plus other local dairy products, eggs and perhaps some chicken, with some tomato sauce I made last summer, as well as some Sun Gold cherry tomatoes I oven-dried and froze.
I’ll probably do less gardening this year because we’re splitting a CSA share with another family, but I can’t imagine not growing my own tomatoes. So I’m hoping to have plenty to eat fresh as well as enough extra to do some freezing or canning to add to next winter’s pantry.