Reflections on Our First Dinner

It went well, really well. All the ingredients made it to the kitchen, most of them made it into the food… except the sage, which I forgot and is still sitting in the fridge. The food all came out the right temperature at the right time, and people had fun.

But I’m a perfectionist on a mission – I want my ingredients to be 100% local, and after 2 full weeks of hunting down ingredients like it was my full time job (because well, it sort of is), I only managed to get 26% of my ingredients from a source that was within 100 miles of where the meal is being prepared and served. Our average ingredient traveled ~760 miles. That feels like a huge failure.

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Legacy Gardens

I met Toni on Noreen Thomas’s Mystery Food Tour (totally worth checking out if you haven’t!). Sometime between quietly touring an Amish Homestead and impulse buying an apple tree, I learned that Toni was a farmer. I asked if she happened to have any Kale for a dinner I was planning and she said “sure!” and quickly rattled off all the other produce she had available.

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What’s in season?

Years ago I was wandering through a grocery store chain with an Italian friend, muttering “are raspberries in season?” She was shocked that an American would be thinking about seasonality in produce. Though I accepted her praise, (like you do) it made me feel a little guilty – I still had no idea if they were in season and wouldn’t until years later, when I lived in a cabin in the woods surrounded by wild raspberry bushes.

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Fargo Family Dinner: Summer 2016

Documenting my 9-week journey to create a local, sustainable, affordable, balanced, satisfying and tasty meal in Fargo, ND

There are a lot of reasons to eat local. When I lived in Vermont, I found myself doing so almost by accident. I’d poke into the farmer’s market to pick up Melissa’s honey, or drive out to Laurie’s farmstand for some raw milk. Local eggs were everywhere and I could even sign up for a yearly consignment of local pork chops from Jill.

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