Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Eat Local Challenge 2012

Hello Locavores!  WOW, I can't believe Sept is already over and the frost is setting in.  I am sad to be seeing my beloved farmers markets coming to an end but am way excited about all the eat local challenge entries we got.

We hope that you participated and if you didn't get to do as much as you wanted, stick with it.  Eating locally isn't a seasonal idea, it's a lifestyle idea.  So, go to your markets these last cold mornings and stock up on root veggies and apples while you can.

TIP: Pumpkins/squash keep really well in a cold, 50 degree basement or in the garage (if it's attached to the house) for quite some time.  Last year I know I was enjoying Wheatfield's pumpkins and squash well into February and they were delicious!

So here are our entries for 2012.  Thanks to all those who participated!

1.  Fresh, Local Dinner
Fresh Zucchini, cucumbers and tomato from Farmers Market, Wheatfields Organics Peppers (yum), homemade bread! Sauce make from local tomatoes, onions, pepp
ers. (True, the pasta and sausage in this meal weren't local but any step in the right direction counts!) 

Recipes and Tips for the “Eat Local Challenge”
Jean Lodermeier, Eau Claire (blog:
Eating local produce and fresh greens doesn’t get any closer to home than your own backyard.
My family and I moved to Eau Claire two years ago with the intention to have enough land in order to plant a large garden in our backyard. After two years, our 2,000 square-foot family garden has joyfully exceeded our expectations. It has provided us with an abundance of fruits and vegetables plus tender greens, ranging from a bright bib lettuce and arugula to the darker greens found in Swiss chard, kale and beet greens.
Did you know that beet greens taste amazing sautéed in a splash of olive oil and garlic? And then to top it off -- sprinkle the greens with your favorite balsamic vinegar or, for a zesty flare, squeeze lemon juice generously over the leaves just before eating. This is one of the many things I didn’t know before my adventure in our very own kitchen garden.
If you get a chance to grow a garden -- no matter the size -- I highly recommend it! I always tell people “hey, if we can do it, so can you!”
Other than harvesting fresh veggies from our garden, we also enjoy going to the popular farmers market in Phoenix Park. We love the social aspect of the market as well as buying honey and goat’s milk soap from local farmers. And of course, we always find something fabulous that we don’t grow ourselves, like the toasty buttered corn. What a treat!
Did you know that there are fresh locally grown eggs available (while supplies last) at the Corner Store in Eau Claire at the intersection of Highway 93 and Deerfield Road?
If you continue to drive a couple of miles south of the Corner Store on highway 93, you’ll find one of our favorite Apple Orchards -- Hillview. If you haven’t already heard, it’s a small family-owned orchard where you can take horse-drawn wagon rides through the beautiful hillside and up the winding wooded trails to the apple trees to pick your own. Or you can buy already picked apples. This year the Harper’s were lucky to have two delicious varieties survive the crazy weather -- Cortland and Honey Crisp.
I’d like to share a scrumptious apple recipe that we made with large Cortland apples. It’s a recipe I discovered years ago when we were part of a CSA (Community-Supported Agriculture) called May Farm near Stillwater, MN. At the end of the fall season the farm owners would throw a Harvest Party; it was a potluck where everyone brought a dish to share, usually made with a local and seasonal item. I hope you get a chance to make this warm and wonderful apple treat.

Baked Apples
  • 4 large good baking apples (Cortland and Connell Red are the best!)
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup chopped raisins (or put a whole prune at the bottom of the apple)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3/4 cup boiling water 
  1. First, wash the apples and preheat the oven to 375°F. Remove cores to 1/2 inch of the bottom of the apples. It makes the job easier if you have an apple corer, but you can also use a paring knife (like I did) to cut a hole down to the core. Use a spoon to dig out the seeds. Make the holes about 3/4 inch to an inch wide. It’s easy!
  2. In a small bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon, raisins, and walnuts. Place apples in a baking pan. Stuff each apple with the filling mixture. Top with a little pad of butter or Earth Balance (about 1/4 of the tablespoon).
  3. Add boiling water to the baking pan. Bake 35-45 minutes, until tender soft, but not mushy. Remove from the oven and scoop out the juices in the pan and drizzle it over the hot apples.
  4. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream on the side, if you wish. 
Serves: 4

For more fresh recipes made from our family garden produce, please visit my blog at:

3.  Eating locally is challenging at times.  That statement seems so backwards but the way in which our country consumes food points to this challenging time for most people.  I would like to share a few tips I have learned with my pathway to eating locally and budget friendly.
1.      Local Eggs.  For me this was one of the easiest ways in which to commit to eating locally.  Most coops around the area sell local farmer’s eggs for under $3.00.  This is an economically easy way to start.  Last June my partner and I seriously committed to buying all eggs that we consumed from local farmers in Eau Claire and Menomonie.  That commitment has been easy to sustain and the bright, fresh, and yellow yolks of those eggs make us feel so good and strong!
2.      Cheese Factories & Butcher Shops.  Check out local cheese and meat in fun shops here in Western WI!  Some of my favorites:  Crescent Meats, Cady Cheese, & Bass Lake!
3.      WorkShare with a CSA.  Two summers ago my partner and I signed up to participate in a work share for a local organic Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm.  In exchange for four hours of work a week we each got a half share of produce.  Peppers, Tomatoes, Greens, Sweet Corn, Eggplant, Herbs, and Watermelon have all been enjoyed this summer.  It cuts our grocery bill down tremendously; we try new things, and its local and organic food!
4.      Menu Planning.  We have recently given menu planning a try.  My partner and I trade off weeks of meal planning.  Once we have a menu we both work to make the dinners and we have almost been in competition each week to see who has a more appetizing menu.  We’ve tried new recipes, like wonton tacos or Italian wedding soup, and had some great fun with it too!
I hope these tips, from my family to yours, help you eat local, stay within your budget, and be happy and healthy for many years to come.
--Clarissa Malecha

4.  I love the option of eating at an area restaurant that serves healthy, local supported food of our farmer's markets.  The food is ALWAYS so much more tasty and cannot get any better than that when you choose to dine out.

Eating FRESH, LOCAL and HEALTHY food is part of my daily routine.  It truly helps keep me healthy and running at top speed for my age.  I can tell the difference when I have a rare moment and eat 'normal consumer' foods.
--Kathy Robinson

5.  I a collecting sheep sorrel, nettles and spearmint growing in the yard at the house I just moved to!  As local as I can get it!
--Anna DeMers 

6.  Buy at the farmers' market regularly.

Meet farmers.

Shop at your local co-op.

Grow your own!
--Linda Mastej

7.  I love going to the Farmers market.  I know the food was grown with care and enthusiasum because they have a lot of competition when they sell their food.
This year I purchased flowers more than once and used them for a 50th anniversary, giving to a shut in, and for my own pleasure.  Each time there was an abundance in the bundle and I could divide it to share around. I am always amazed at the quality and abundance, no matter what kind of weather we are experiencing, especially drought and heat!
--Joyce Sobotta

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Make Your Own Goats Milk Cheese

The most interesting and simple local food demonstration, I’ve seen recently, is making Goat Milk Cheese.

Goat milk cheese is lower in fat and calories than cow’s milk and easier to digest if you are lactose intolerant. You can purchase goat milk from a local farmer, a farmers market or your local natural food store.

You Need:

  • 1 gallon of goat's milk
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Salt
  • Herbs, if desired
  • 1 Large stainless steel kettle
  • Cheesecloth
  • Large Bowl
  • Ladle

  1. Heat the goat milk to 190 degrees, stirring constantly
  2. Take off heat and cool to 100 degrees F
  3. Slowly add apple cider vinegar
  4. Put cheesecloth in a large bowl
  5. As curds start to form, separate from the whey and put into large bowl.
  6. Add very little salt, if desired, or try adding herbs like basil, parsley or chives.
  7. Squeeze out more whey by gathering and twisting cheesecloth into a ball around curds.
  8. Tie and hang the ball of curds to drain for several hours. Refrigerate for a day before tasting.

The whey is left in the bowl to be used for cooking or discarded.

--Joyce Sobotta

Thank Zachary!!

Eating Local this month has been about visiting those farms and producers that make our state so unique, some venrture to say even, a national hub for the local food movement! Five friends started the first five day chapter of this month (now two!) of biking throughout the state to thuroughly witness the magic of transparent, nourishing food production, distribution and marketting! A wide aray of scenes continue to be visited on this adventure! From CSAs to cooperative warehouse to community kitchens, dairies, breweries, grocery cooperatives of all shapes and sizes, community gardens, backyard gardens, urban farms, pizza farms, locally focused cafes, bakeries, urban meat lockers, rural fruit and vegetable stands, small scale to CAFO size paultry and egg production, music venues with great local food options, bed and breakfasts, campsites, backyard camping and more! the adventure has inspired more travels (next summer a couple of us will depart to do the panamerican tour by bike... from Alaska to Argentina! Our hope is to continue to eat the best food that the Americas have to offer and telling the story of those producers along the way. if you'd like to read a bit about our first five days of touring between Viroqua and Blue Mounds (Southwest) Wiscinson please visit our blog and check back in for more updates over the fall and winter!

--Zachary Barnes

Awesome Entry

Awesome Entry:

Other than know your local co-op and use it well, one of the
main ways to eat locally is to KNOW YOUR NEIGHBORS!
Many of us have small backyard gardens or buy in bulk
(I also have neighbors who work on farms and have
access to food) and I not only learn about local food
from them but we share food with each other! Potlucks
are a GREAT way to enjoy local food. In these exchanges
of food is an exchange of conversation where I learn to
appreciate my food more, learn of new foods to eat, and
new nutritional information. This broadens the amount of
food I can eat locally and also peaks my interest in
eating locally. Sure wish more of my neighbors were
farmers, because farmers are my hero, but I think
I'll just try to extend the borders of my neighborhood!
--Lynn Buske

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Colorful Recipes for Fall


  • 2 organic apples, unpeeled, chopped

  • 2 small (skinny) zucchini, unpeeled, chopped

  • ½ cup walnuts, lightly crushed

  • Raspberry Vinaigrette Salad Dressing
    (or dressing of your choice)

  • Fresh Shredded cheese (optional)

Mix all together and serve.

May add protein of: tuna,

chicken, tofu, etc.

*This is a wonderful salad

with the bounty of the fall produce.


  • 1 Red Pepper (local/organic),

  • chopped bite-size

  • 2 Zucchini (local), SMALL to MEDIUM,

  • unpeeled, sliced thinly

  • 2 Ears of Corn (local), shaved off cob

  • Saute all of the veggies with a little
    bit of water. Once they are cooked to your liking
    and the water has evaporated, add EVOO
    (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) and turmeric and/or
    curry powder. Stir in to mix and ready to eat.