Saturday, June 12, 2010

Win A Copy of Edible: A Celebration of Local Foods

edible bookShopping and eating locally are not as straight forward as they should be. It is far more convenient to buy a banana for 10 cents that traveled 1,000 miles to my stomach than it is to find and purchase an apple from a farm less than 30 minutes from my house. There's a lot of reasons for this. Subsidized agriculture. Cheap, foreign oil. Treasury Desks.

Moreover, once local food is found, it can be equally challenging to know what to do with it. Not all of us are a whiz with Asian Greens or Chard, and learning to cook with all things local can be quite a learning curve. Moreover, learning how to clean, store, and prepare local food is a pickle; it is not shelf-stable and does not confirm to common convention.

I can't change the big stuff, but I can try to manage myself. My contributions are simple, and I do what I can. Most nights I cook. I shop at the farmers markets and take Umami Girl's advice seriously. We helped to found a CSA. But at the end of the day, I need to start building more resources to help support my goal to eat locally.

Enter Edible: A Celebration of Local Foods. For those of you familiar with Edible Magazines, available for free across the country, get ready to enjoy. The book divides up nicely by geography, drilling down on what is available where, who sells it, how to store it, while all the way telling stories and making learning fun and breezy. Then there are the recipes for using these local foods, which are fabulous. They are separated by season, with notes on location. Finally,the photography is impressive as it is instructional. All in all one of the best books on eating locally that I have come across in my searches.

Want to win a copy? Comment below and tell me more about how you are trying to eat locally. What are you challenges, peeves, triumphs, and stories? Contest ends June 30, 2010. Winner will be chosen randomly and notified shortly thereafter.


  1. We joined a CSA in 2009 and have begun to pay attention to where our food actually comes from. In addition to the CSA, we try to get our meat from a local market and always look for local if we have to go to the grocery store.

  2. I buy a local veggie box every other week for staples, and do my best to look for local products in the supermarket. It's tough though! I'd like to improve my meat sourcing- there is a local butcher but it is out of my way and very expensive, so I only go there for a special treat. I've also been getting interested in keeping chickens and have been studying a friend's urban setup...

  3. I'm lucky because in Los Angeles it's easy to eat locally. I go to the farmers' market twice a week - Sundays in Hollywood, Mondays in West Hollywood. Since I'm on a budget and working from home, it's all about stretching the dollar and making good, healthy food to last a few meals. So I roast whatever vegetable's in season - often broccoli, cauliflower, sometimes brussels sprouts, and of course root vegetables in the fall and winter. Right now I'm all about string beans, but I just quick boil them and drizzle on some California olive oil and this week's best herb - flowering dill. Oh, and salt and pepper of course. Anyway, I also buy fish at the farmers' market; he gets his stuff locally. Right now I'm slow-roasting salmon. Otherwise, I get lots of salad fixins - butter lettuce, little cukes, grape tomatoes, plenty of herbs. And finally, fruit, lots of fruit - blueberries and cantaloupe; not long ago it was meyer lemons (for delicious local meyer lemonade and vodka!) and Cara Cara oranges. Yum! Meyer lemons are the epitome of local produce since the season is so short and the skin is fairly thin so it must not travel well. Similarly, I've never seen Fuerte avocados outside California. Oh, and walnut oil. That's harvested about an hour up north and it adds an amazingly nutty flavor to stir-frys and salad dressings. Have I mentioned I make a mean meyer lemon shallot vinaigrette? I'm putting the CAL in local.

  4. And another thing.... Maybe because I'm an outsider - I moved to LA from the east coast less than three years ago - I really appreciate the local produce. But I'm amazed at how few people seem to really explore the bounty here. And my friends love food. So I'm trying to spread the gospel by hosting dinner parties and showcasing uniquely local items of the moment, like Meyer Lemons. When I had people over last summer and they tasted my strawberries, they were amazed. It's just not the same if you get them at the supermarket, even Whole Foods. I know it's tough and takes dedication, but for me moving here was about creating the kind of life I most want to have. Part of that was eating healthfully. Eating locally is the most healthy way to eat - no preservatives needed.

  5. It's pretty easy in the summer in Vermont to eat local. We buy local produce at farmers markets, farm stands, and at our local natural food store. We used to belong to a CSA, but found we got a lot of produce we didn't really like. Food got wasted and we felt guilty. I have a great cookbook to recommend... Farmer John's Cookbook, which basically is like a CSA cookbook, organized by what you see throughout the spring, summer and fall. There is a great recipe for a cauliflower cheese spinach pie, with a potato crust... yum.

  6. Hi all, Thanks for your comments. The winner is Mark Elliot, who actually emailed in his comment (below). Winner was chosen at random. Hope to see you all back here soon, and thanks for your interesting and inspiring comments.


    "HEY Julie !

    I am putting my bid in for the EDIBLE book (I WANT that!!!) by sending you some pics of what I call my "gutter garden" the perfect growing spot for us uban-ites who have little space.

    For under $20 I bought a new section of gutter that you would mount on your house sealed the end caps with sealant and installed it on my 2nd floor deck on the inside railing (see pics). Once that was done (5 mins) I filled it with good potting soil (about 2 &1/2 bags) and transplanted all of my herbs into it. Since herbs are do damm expensive and Lea cooks with them pretty much every night I figured it would be a $$$$ saving and pretty cool way to grow stuff.
    The trash can you see in the background was aslo purchased new and I have the water from our 3rd floor air conditioner feeding down to the can so I can re-use the water for the herbs and tomatoes I have on the deck.

    My air unit puts out about 2 gallons of re-use able water each night so I am saving water as well.

    What do you think?

    (oh yea- we joined the CSA and split a share with Peta and Kennan)