Saturday, March 8, 2014

Eat Local Challenge #1

It was a challenge with a food theme. A challenge that got me thinking about where my food really comes from for one meal out of the month. A challenge that didn't sound too tricky to start with, but the more I thought about it, the more challenging it became.

For a person that is fortunate to have a veggie garden right outside her back door, there was an array of offerings to be considered. Zucchini fritters? Yes! No, wait, what about the flour, where is that from? It's surprising how many dishes have flour in them or are based around flour products, such as breadcrumbs. Being gluten and dairy free requires much consideration about 'substitute' items, such as nut milks (even if homemade (where are the nuts from?) and gluten free flours.I cringed when I examined some of the labels showing the origin of the ingredient on these items that had made their way into my pantry of late).

Read on to see what this month's local meal revolved around. As the weather becomes cooler and we are not harvesting from the garden so much I can see this challenge requiring loads more thought and pre-planning.

Thanks goes to Brydie from Cityhippyfarmgirl who really got me thinking hard about the small ingredients in my kitchen and for hosting this challenge...

On the menu:

Roast lamb with rosemary roast potatoes and a garden salad.

My preparation started by visiting my local famer's market...

I was lucky to pick up some beautiful, fresh vegetables which we don't have producing in our garden yet. Leeks, radishes, butter beans, tomatoes, beetroot, bay leaves and a local olive oil. At this stage, I wasn't sure what I was actually going to make so I wanted to keep my options open.

My mum also gifted me a bag of cucumbers and tomatoes during the week which was perfect timing for this challenge. 

The lamb was the last of a bulk order to use up from a local supplier (see below for details) and was cooked in the slow cooker all day, being a busy school and after school activity kind of day. Potatoes were drizzled in olive oil, rosemary and sea salt and roasted in a hot oven for about an hour.
(stumble #1 - sea salt!)

A quick lettuce and rocket dash took place to throw a salad together at the last minute. Ahhh! The dressing! How could I have skipped this important aspect? (stumble #2 - vinegar). We had olive oil but no local vinegar to make a quick dressing...see - it's the small things that gave me grief.
Mental note - investigate local vinegars at next farmers market..

Having a piece of local lamb in the freezer to use up helped me enormously with this challenge - although it won't be so easy next time. I have to let you in on a little secret though - I caved in and used some gf flour to make some gravy (stumble #3 - flour!). I can't imagine a roast lamb without a serve of gravy alongside. Again, it was the small things.

Where it all came from:

Lamb - Seven Hills Organic Farm  (Kerrie Valley - 18km)

Olive oil, butter beans and radishes - Woodend Farmers Market  
                                               Somerset Heritage Produce (Seymour - 93km)

Spring Creek Organics (Navigators - 100km)

                                                             Kyneton Olive Oil (Barfold - 50km)

Tomatoes and cucumbers - My mum! (27km)

Rocket, lettuce, calendula, garlic, potatoes and rosemary - my backyard - 10 metres. 


Thoughts for next time: consider flour and milk alternatives and keep an eye out for local vinegar. 

                                  Jump on over to Brydie's blog to find out more about this challenge or to join in!



  1. Yum that looks delicious particularly the roasted potatoes with rosemary. Might have to make them myself this week. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane, Australia

  2. On behalf of all farmers I can say thank you to all 'Eat Local 'challenge participants. There is also a great note on 'Farmer Liz's blog' about how much buying local helps farmers in Queensland in the current drought situation. It's a weird thing where farmers in a drought can be selling their stock at $1 per kg because of 'the drought' - then the supermarkets sell at the same price of $18.00 a kg once it hits their shelves.
    This challenge is something that will change the way people farm and connect with their customers at the farm gate and 'Coles ' and 'Woolworths' will be scratching their heads in confusion as to where all their customers went.
    So I say 'yay! Christine !!!!!!' and 'Yay!!!! Brydie ' - this is a really coooooooooool thing you are doing.

    1. Oh Kim really?? It can bought for as little as that?? That's terrible!

  3. It's far trickier than it initially seems isn't it. Although I have to say Christine, eating local at your place looks alright my girl :-) There are so many things to consider with it, and certainly makes me value what I can get with relative ease for our 'normal' meals.
    Thanks for joining in lovely, I greatly appreciate it. (and ps. I took one of your pics and popped it on my blog- hope that's ok!)

    1. Absolutely OK! I also wanted to say how much I love being able to link to local producers so others can support them, too! Fantastic challenge, Brydie thank you. :-)

  4. This challenge is a great concept. It is sad to contemplate how our lives have changed in 2 generations and the present origins of our food. The prolific market gardens, which surrounded Melbourne to feed its inhabitants, have given way to the suburbs and continue to do so - a glaring mistake considering our age ravaged soils and lack of highly productive land. Then there is the question of food miles. Once fruit and vegetables were grown in suburban backyards and carted by horse from areas such as Murrumbeena, Doncaster and the Dandenongs to the Melbourne markets. Now it arrives from thousands of miles away and sadly often by air from different continents, Tasmanian seafood is flown to Asia to be processed then flown back home to be consumed! So much pollution. So much stupidity. Warm regards.

  5. Love this! We have been trying to eat a little closer to home. A couple weeks ago, I came home with drastically fewer veggies, because a good portion of what the store had was from Chili (we are in USA.) It can be a little frustrating, but I am voting with my $.

  6. How fabulous, Chris, to be able to eat so well with such low food miles. Good for you! :)

  7. Good on you I think you did really well. I am not sure but I suspect this would be quite difficult where I live and the fact I have noting growing in my garden at the moment other than herbs would make things tricky. I do have the meat covered so as long as we were happy to be carnivores we could have Beef with garlic and herbs. i think I should challenge my beliefs here and see how hard it is.

  8. Might just have to give this a go! Reminder of how much we need to appreciate how easily we can go over the top when shopping.

  9. I seriously want to pinch one of those potatoes off your plate. I love rosemary on potatoes so much :)

  10. If you have water kefir, you can make vinegar using that - it takes a couple months but is lovely.

  11. Such gorgeous veggies on your plate! My mouth is watering at the sight of those potatoes. I know what I'm having for dinner tonight!

  12. Thanks for sharing this wonderful article.

  13. It is really interesting, I hope everybody lick this Post.


Hi there, it's so nice of you to stop by! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I love hearing what you are up to. Chris x