Editor’s Note: Kelly Reynolds, graphic designer, social media consultant and author of the blog Reynolds Report, is taking a personal Eat Local Challenge during the month of April and will be reporting weekly about her journey. Kelly hails from Phoenix, Arizona.
When I started my Eat Local Challenge, I knew it would be challenging. Boy, did I underestimate how much.
This past week has been interesting and difficult, but very fulfilling. With only one exception (chips and queso at a neighborhood restaurant), I've eaten only local, organic or all natural foods for the entire week!
My breakfasts have consisted of eggs, toast with locally made preserves or organic granola. Lunches have been mainly salads and dinners have been a lot of chicken, steak and baked potatoes. For this week, I haven't strayed very far from my comfort zone.
I have, however, visited some amazing local restaurants. Tuesday night, I had the amazing BBQ Bacon Blue Burger from Joe's Farm Grill in Gilbert, Arizona. The restaurant has been converted from the Johnston family's home to a place where fresh, delicious food is prepared right before your eyes. The produce and herbs come right from the family's farm, which you can see from the back patio, and all of their meat comes from inside Arizona state lines.
Another local treasure is Essence Bakery Café in Tempe, Arizona, where their motto is "Buy locally. Eat well. Preserve the planet." They purchase as much produce from local farmers and vendors as possible, serve grass-fed beef and free-range chicken and serve as many sustainable and organic products as possible. At Essence, I had the Roasted Chicken Club sandwich and, like at Joe's I could definitely tell the difference between fresh and local and the cookie-cutter, frozen food restaurants I frequented before the challenge.
I also tried some new recipes this week. As I mentioned before, I'm not much of a cook. So, it shouldn't be a surprise that I roasted my first chicken this week. I took the chicken, from Double Check Ranch in Winkleman, Arizona, out of the packaging, cleaned it off and realized that it still had a neck attached! I couldn't cope with cutting off the neck, so I called in backup (my dad) to help me out. After all of the drama was out of the way, I roasted it with herbs and spices and a locally-made chipotle plum sauce from Terra Verde Farms. It was delicious!
I ran into a couple hiccups along the way this week, though. I figured out that I need a backup plan.For instance, it may rain this Saturday and I found myself thinking, "What would I do if the farmer's market is closed? Where would I get my food for the week?" Also, one day I forgot my eggs for breakfast and had to settle for All Natural Melba Toast, which wasn't bad, but I wanted something local and didn't have a backup.
What do you do when your plans don't go as expected and you need a backup plan?
All-in-all I feel great about this week. I can definitely notice a change in taste and in my body from the all local and organic diet, and I feel amazing that I'm reducing my carbon footprint and supporting local farmers and businesses while doing it.
Goals for Week 2
- Step outside of my comfort zone -- Try a new recipe, use that kale I've been too chicken to bring out of the fridge and buy new things at the farmer's market.
- Develop a backup plan for when I forget my food or when a recipe goes wrong (probably from stepping outside of my comfort zone).