Monday, July 27, 2009

Upcoming Native Plant Events

Lately, I have been writing a lot about vegetable gardening (it is the season, after all), but I also wanted to share some information about upcoming events related to native plants:

If you decide to go, let me know!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Eat Local Week - How'd you do?

Well the eat local challenge week is over - how did it go? The goal was to eat at least one local product a day. I am not sure I ate local every day, but I am sure I got my seven in. Here is what I ate:

From my garden:

  • Green beans (3 times)

  • Eggplant (2 times)

  • Cucumber

  • Jalepeno pepper

  • Basil

From the farmers' market:
  • Green peppers

  • Onions

  • Tomatoes (3 times)
I was also fortunate to have a co-worker bring me some tomatoes from his own yard. When will my tomatoes ever turn red?

Although this is a lot more local food than I ate a couple of years ago, I still have a long way to go. For instance, I did not eat any local meat, eggs, cheese, or fish.

In a couple weeks I will be starting my personal eat local week. During this week I challenge myself to make all of my dinners from entirely locally produced food. I'll keep you posted on how it goes.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

What are you eating this week?

If you live in Maryland, this week is the "Buy Local" challenge week. Everyone is challenged to eat one item a day from a local farm. How hard can that be?

This is a great time for such a challenge - there is a huge variety of local produce available now - at farmers markets, farm stands, perhaps even from your own backyard. Why buy (and eat) local? Here are just a few reasons:

Help local farmers - let's keep our money in our own community and buy from our neighbors, not a huge, faceless agribusiness company

Help the environment - buying your food locally is better for the environment. A local tomato is trucked fewer miles and therefore produces less greenhouse gas emissions than a tomato trucked in from California. And if you buy local organic foods, that's even better (for the planet and for you)

It tastes good - mass produced vegetables are often selected for qualities such as uniformity, self-life, etc. Farmers that sell to local markets often offer unusual or heirloom varieties of vegetables, and are more likely to have picked their vegetables that morning so what you are buying is at the peak of freshness

Want to get started? Here's how:

Take the pledge (or not) - Obviously, the pledge is not mandatory, but taking it helps the organizers understand how many people they have reached. And, if you are like me, it gives you that extra nudge to make sure you cook that great corn on the cob instead of calling to get a pizza delivered.

The pledge can be found at:

Find local produce - there are tons of farmers markets throughout Maryland. Here are a couple of good sites to help you get started:

Another market, not mentioned on this site, is at Boordy Vineyards on Thursday evenings ( Called Good Life Thursdays, it features a number of vendors selling vegetables, eggs, meats, flowers etc. There is always a band, and you can pick up your groceries, buy a bottle of wine, and stay for dinner (they sell food or you can bring your own).

When I was at the farmers market last weekend, there was a huge variety of fresh fruits and vegetables - summer squash, green beans, chard, tomatoes, peppers, onions, corn, eggplant, raspberries - just to name some of the things that caught my eye (or ended up in my bag)!

Start cooking and eating - farm fresh produce is easy to cook, because it is so flavorful on it's own, you don't need to do much to it. Grilled veggies, tomatoes with basil, steamed corn on the stomach is growling just thinking about it.

There are some interesting recipes on the buy local website, but the ones I looked at were a little intimidating. One of my favorite sources for recipes is Epicurious ( Just search on a particular vegetable and find hundreds of recipes - from simple to complex. One of the reasons I love this site so much is that users rate the recipes and provide comments that can help you decide if you should try the recipe.

If you decide to eat local this week, let me know how it goes!