This week’s blog post comes to us from ALFN Board Member and Volunteer, Cathi Watkins. In celebration of the New Year and as a incentive to buy and eat more local foods, we are offering a free T-shirt to new customers who make their first order during the month of January! Happy New Year everyone!
As 2017 dawns, I’m making plans for the coming year. My plans for 2017 include: camping more, cleaning out the basement, and dining on a delicious local meal at least once a week. Eating locally will increase our consumption of fresh healthy foods, support Arkansas farmers, and decrease our carbon footprint. (On average, U.S. produce travels 1,500 miles prior to consumption). Eating locally will also help us tune-in to the seasons and mother earth.
With an assortment of vegetables, fruits, nuts, cheese, eggs and meats from Arkansas Local Food Network (ALFN), I expect to be able to accomplish my 2017 weekly eating-locally goal. ALFN is a year-round farmers market with a convenient online ordering system. Once the market opens on Sunday afternoons, I can order from a wide variety of local foods. I’ll pick-up my selections the following Saturday or Monday, mingling with fellow locavores at Christ Church. (Find out more here: https://arkansaslocalfoodnetwork.org/.)
With a nod to New Year’s traditions, our first meal of 2017 will be cabbage and bacon (Emeril’s recipe) alongside spicy purple hull peas and Marconi peppers. I’m swapping local purple hull peas for store-bought black-eyed peas. Jeff and I picked up our ALFN order this morning, so we’re starting out right! We’ll toast the New Year with good friends and a local beer, of course!
For next week, I’ve planned a shepherd’s pie with a layer of ground beef, fresh carrots and some green beans I froze in the fall, topped with a layer of mashed red potatoes and turnips, seasoned with green garlic. I purchased all of these yummy ingredients at ALFN also.
From winter squash and pecans, to early spring greens and leeks, to summer tomatoes and peaches, and then fall apples and turkey, we are joyfully ready to be more intentional about eating locally-grown foods. By purchasing food year-round through the ALFN market, our meals will bind us to the community of farmers, gardeners, bakers, and makers whose labor sustains us.