This is the post where we share the nitty, gritty guidelines for our 100 Mile Food Journey. Ever since I wrote my last blog post, my mind has hurled through a spectrum of emotions – “I can’t wait to start! I want to start today! Look at this really cool food co-op I found! Did you know that peanuts grow locally? Wait…what? No coffee? No chocolate? No beer? WHAT HAVE WE DONE?!?!?”
But I’m of the mindset that once I’ve publicly announced that I’m going to do something, I’m bloody well going to do something. And while I know we will be bidding adieu to some of our favourites, the excitement far outweighs the apprehension. So this week, Jeff and I have roughly hammered out how we want to approach food for the next year:
(I like to call these guidelines. “Rules” sounds way too….harsh. But there may be those of you who, like Jeff, are rule followers and may prefer to call them “rules.”)
- All our food must come from within a 100-mile radius. This is the hard and fast guideline – the one to rule them all. This means that even if something is made locally, but does not contain ingredients from within 100 miles, it’s out. (Take our quandary with local craft beer for example. Most breweries don’t use local hops or malts….therefore, beer is out. That being said, a number of you have been giving us names of breweries that may use local ingredients. Can I just say “thank you” and “cheers?” If we find this unicorn of a brewery, I will raise my frosty stein and salute you.)
- We may finish the pantry items we currently have. We still have a can of coffee, a bag of sugar, a bunch of spices and other assortments that we will be finishing while we are on the 100-Mile Food Journey. However, once these staples run out, there will be no replacing them unless their replacements can be sourced within a 100-mile radius. So, when the coffee is done – it’s done. (This one hurts. However, sadly, coffee beans do not grow in Canada. I may just become that crazy lady who harvests dandelion and chicory root in order to make a coffee “substitute.” I’m told it tastes the same. So, before you spray those pesky dandelions, help a sister out and send them my way. My caffeine-deprived soul will thank you. And if, in the near future, I invite you over for a cup of coffee, consider yourself forewarned.)
- The 100-Mile “Guidelines” do not apply at social events. We are not going to be those people who snub the food you make for us. If you invite us over for a bbq, I’m not going to turn my nose up at your Costco burgers or ask you if your chicken kabobs were from happy, frolicking free-range hens. I’m also not going to turn down a steaming cup of coffee or an icy cold beer. It would be bad manners, after all. However, if you are coming to my house, our meal will be entirely sourced from 100-mile ingredients.
- The 100-Mile “Guidelines” apply when dining out – to an extent. If Jeff and I are out on date night, we’ve got to find restaurants that source local ingredients. Thankfully, we live in an area where there are plenty of restaurants that work with local farmers, providing more farm to table dining experiences. (We really love Borealis Grille and Red House for their adherence to local flavours. If you guys have any other suggestions,though, please send them our way! We’d love to have some more choices!) There will be occasions, however, where we will be invited to social gatherings at restaurants that do not support local foods. Jeff travels enough for work that we’re not about to put restrictions on where he eats with suppliers for lunch etc…And if one of our grandparents has a birthday party at the Crabby Joes down the street, you can bet your bottom dollar that we’ll be there, digging into those sinfully, non-local loaded fries.
And that’s it, in a nutshell. I’m sure that we’re going to encounter instances where we’re not really sure what we should do. And perhaps there will need to be a bit more leniency to these guidelines. (One such issue that I’ve been wondering – how do I can my garden produce without sugar or certain spices? Once again, any of you experienced canners, please send help my way.) Maybe exceptions will need to be made in some instances. Or maybe not. The point is – we’re not going to execute this challenge perfectly. But we’re going to walk this journey with intention, awareness, gratitude, and a smattering of grace here and there.
Oh – and did I mention that we plan to start officially on July 1st? If any of you are interested in joining us, please let me know! Like with most things, a sense of community and support is going to make all the difference! Plus, it’d be really nice to commiserate with someone about my caffeine withdrawal while sipping a cup of oh-so-delicious dandelion “coffee.”