100 mile journey

A number of years ago I heard the concept “100 mile diet” and was intrigued. A 100 mile diet means consuming foods produced or grown within 100 miles of your home. I live in an area with a rich agricultural history, and there is nothing I find more beautiful than a stretch of farmland be it cows or crops. In 2004, I tried being a grower and seller of vegetables. It’s really hard work, and I decided that supporting farmers’ markets was a better plan for me. Shopping at your local farmer’s market takes a flexible schedule that I didn’t have for the past 10 years. But now that my husband and I are empty nesters since our daughter went off to college, I can prioritize my time to my desires and have decided to incorporate the idea of the 100 mile diet into our life. We have 2 fantastic farmers’ markets within 30 minutes of our house; one on Saturday and one on Sunday which increases the odds I can make it to at least one.

In order to make this 100 mile diet a reachable and sustainable goal I set the mark at 50%. Meaning 50% of our diet needs to be grown or produced within 100 miles of our home. I believe there are two important ideas behind the 100 mile diet. One, any reduction of our carbon footprint is a good thing. By eating food grown or produced within 100 miles, less fuel is needed to bring that food to us. Second, we are expanding our knowledge of our area. For example, when we think of cranberries we think of Massachusetts. There are cranberry bogs on Cape Cod near my father in law’s home. But at a local grocer, I discovered cranberries grown in VT! I turned those cranberries into a yummy cranberry sauce which when combined with some delicious Greek yogurt produced in VT I met the 100 mile diet goal all week for breakfast.

cranberryCranberry sauce made with cranberries from Vermont Cranberry Company and Asian pears from Champlain Orchards in Vermont purchased at Four Seasons Natural Food store in Saratoga Springs NY.  I threw in some dried cherries, but I don’t know where they were grown or produced. The dish reaches my goal of 50% +.

I’ve noticed that people’s immediate response to a new idea is why/how that idea won’t work for them. I try and do the opposite. “That’s an interesting idea. How can I incorporate it successfully into my life?” This is why I set our goal at 50% for this diet. I want it to be sustainable. I don’t want to give up avocados, which I don’t believe can be grown within 100 miles of my home in Upstate NY. I can however, make an intentional effort to have the bulk of our diet come from locally grown and produced products. Eating mindfully means eating with intention. And my intention is to reduce our carbon footprint and support locally made products. So far the journey has been fun, educational, and tasty! I’ll keep you updated on our journey. We can learn together about all the great culinary options produced or grown locally.

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