In Rita's Blog

The month of April has arrived – part of the busiest season in our area for agriculturalists and gardeners alike – preparing the soil for planting, clearing the greenhouse of transplants and moving them to their permanent homes, gearing up for the farmers market, and feeling the buzz of go-go-go…the growing season is on!

So why not add another challenge to an already challenging time? Eating Local Food for a whole month.

Lowcountry Local First, a non-profit in the Charleston area committed to supporting local businesses and sustainable agriculture celebrates April as Eat Local Month. They provide us with the challenge us to take our love for local foods and producers to the next level.

check it out: The Eat Local Challenge

As I have been involved in local foods and agriculture for 9 years now (almost a third of my life – wow!), the next level for me is Local All-the-Way. I know what’s in season, who grows it, where to find it and how to prepare it.

My original intent was in the raw foods with local ingredients only, but let’s be reasonable here. I’m busy, your busy and we all need to eat. Supporting local businesses is just as important, and its impossible for them to source all of their raw ingredients from the state. Meaning, we have lots of opportunity here.

So, the parameters for my challenge:

1. Foods produced in South Carolina, with a priority on seasonal produce, dairy, seafood, meats and grains, including wild game. This also includes goods from local bakeries and home-made items from local producer-supporting restaurants.

2. Foods that I have canned, frozen or dried from the farm over the years.

3. Meals at restaurants that really and truly support our local producers.

4. Kitchen staples such as oils, vinegars and spices are allowed from outside of SC – we just don’t have them here.

5. Dinner invitations or gifts of homemade foods are fair game. After all, local is community, and sharing food is community in its purest form.

Follow me on my journey through our Foodshed for the month of April as I explore and honor our Tenders of the Earth and others who celebrate Her bounties in the form of food. And please please let me know of any hidden local gems I have missed!

Now, off to the Strawberry Farm!