Last year was the first year that I participated in the (not so) Urban Hennery’s Dark Days Challenge.
What is a Dark Days Challenge?
For the last four years, Laura at the (not so) Urban Hennery has been challenging her readers to join her in preparing and eating a SOLE (sustainable, organic, local, ethical) meal at least once a week during the most difficult time of the year; winter. She’s trying to prove that eating well from your own watershed can be done year round.
Eating local foods that have been raised in a sustainable (and humane) manner is a lot easier than it sounds~ even in the winter. If you haven’t canned or preserved produce from the summer, the challenge may be a little more difficult, but even without a larder full of canned goods, eating locally through the Dark Days of Winter is possible.
Find a Farmers’ Market near you. You’d be surprised how many winter markets are popping up all over the country.
Can’t find a market? Find a farmer. Many store produce through the winter even if they don’t have a venue to sell it.
Local bakeries are easy to find and many communities have small dairies that sell at least milk if not yogurt and cheese.
Even without connections to local markets or the farming community, you’d be surprised what you can find at your grocery store. Check out the produce department. Instead of buying December asparagus from South America, choose a winter vegetable like squash. Many groceries are beginning to carry local produce when it is in season and announce that fact on signs and tags.
Even if you can’t find everything you want from a local source you could try a recipe or two when you find a local product. If you need inspiration, check my Dark Days ’09-’10 Page to find the archive of last years’ recipes. This year’s challenge runs from December 1, 2010 – April 15, 2011. Check back each week to see what’s cookin’!
Maybe you really aren’t in a position to play along; you can still follow the challenge and get some ideas. There’s always next year!