About the SSFC and Why I'm Doing This
Earlier this year I participated in the Dark Days of Winter Eat Local Challenge where I had to create at least one meal per week made from local, organically grown ingredients. That challenge ended in March, but some of us decided to form our own breakout group and continue the challenge to eat locally-sourced meals throughout the summer and fall. We're mostly located in the southern United States, and we formed the Southern SOLE Food Challenge which will go from June 1 through October 31.
[SOLE = Sustainable, Organic, Local, and/or Ethical, but I'm going to focus on meals that are made with local and seasonal ingredients. The farmers/producers I buy from don't always have an official "organic" label, but they're transparent about their sustainable methods].
For about a year now I've tried to make a more conscious effort to eat with the seasons. This started a couple of winters ago when I realized that I was throwing money away buying strawberries and tomatoes in December that were tasteless and often not fresh. Half the fruits would get moldy after a few days. What a waste! While I can't promise that I never buy tomatoes in December anymore, I do look for the ones grown in hothouses from my own state versus those that are shipped from another country. (Note: I never buy out of season strawberries anymore. Fool me five times, shame on me!) The buying local part is trickier--I like bananas, avocados, olives, and citrus fruit, but those just don't grow in the mid-Atlantic. I'm a girl of the 21st Century and I'm not going to give up the modern ability to access those foods, as well as spices, coffee, chocolate, olive oil, and some other things. I view challenges like this as an extension of the desire to grow my own food.
This google bundle link should take you to a summary of everyone's SSFC posts.
The best local resource will be my own kitchen garden!
Since the Challenge last winter, I've found some good local sources of meat, cheese, eggs, dairy products and vegetables--from producer-only markets, not those that allow brokers or re-sellers. I'll be listing my resources here.