2016 challenge: Eat (mostly) local

One of my challenges for this year was to make most of my meals from locally grown foods (100% is my goal, but I usually wind up closer to 80-90%). I'm relying on bulk goods (rice, legumes etc...in reusable cloth bags) and local produce for the majority of my diet.   Eating locally grown food means less packaging, less travel time and better consumer awareness (farmers have a lot of information to share), plus the money you spend is going back into the local economy to support YOUR community and by increasing demand it encourages more farmers to grow and produce for their local consumer base...all kinds of good things. 

My favorite market bag is one I made a couple years ago from organic USA grown cotton.  In addition to my big market bag, I also bring 5 or so small fabric bags for separating out the vegetables.

  Eating locally grown produce is usually affordable, but depending on what my current budget allows...the rice/legumes (less expensive) to vegetables (more expensive) ratio does tip one way or the other.  

Learning to properly store foods to ensure longevity is important with this challenge.  There is only one farmers market going in Portland that is year round (at PSU).   But as more markets pop up (Shemanski park and King markets open this week) there are more days of the week I can do my shopping (yes!!!). For the past few months I've been going to the PSU farmers market to get all my veggies for the week and then making them last til the next market day.  The photos show my market haul from this past Saturday (not everything fit in the photos):

2 big bags of spinach
2 bunches of radishes
2 bunches of leek scapes
2 bunches of carrots  
2 bundles of sage
2 big bundles of basil
15 zucchini 
5 heads of chinese broccoli

I got out of the market with all the above for about $45USD.  Not all of it will fit in my crisper drawers, unfortunately.  I usually put the produce I'm planning to eat first on the main shelf and then produce I plan to eat later goes in the crisper to preserve freshness.  I also leave all produce in the same cloth bags I use to purchase them, I find they last longer that way (I'm also lazy).   Fresh herbs always get thrown in the food processor to be finely chopped then put into containers to freeze (if I leave them in the fridge in bundles they always wilt/brown/look terrible within a couple days).

Now that my meals are dependent on what's in season; I find myself eating a lot of the same vegetables.  Originally I was worried that I'd get bored, but it's actually been fun finding new ways to cook the same old vegetable.  Oddly enough, I'm always most creative when I have the least options. 

I foresee lots of baked zucchini fries this week....