Mostly, we do eat local food. So do our dogs.
This challenge has, however, focused my attention on what is really local (how far can you go?). The official challenge was within 200 miles – 350 km. That is pretty far, but meant that I could include tropical fruit and flour. I think local is more like 20 miles or 50km actually.
While I was paying extra attention, I found some new local ingredients like ginger and chia seeds and black garlic. I have planted plenty more pulses in the garden and will start thinking about grains and seeds for next season too. I have thought a lot about whether local or organic is more important – if you can’t do both. Around here it generally is possible to tick both boxes.
So thanks Slow Food – always inspiring – but this challenge was particularly so. Anyone keen to join Slow Food? I am building the midlands contingent of our KZN imifino convivium and would be delighted if you did.
Early this morning I blitzed pineapple (285km), naartjie (21km), orange (1km) and banana (250km) into delicious juice and had a slice of Boerenkaas by Just Cheese in Greytown (86km) on Wild Bread Co toast (21km).
Lunch was a tangy salad of grated kohlrabi (57km), carrot (18km), radish (10m), celery (7km) sunflower sprouts (16km), spring onions, oxalis leaves and nastutiums with fresh orange (1km) dressing.
I made umqusho -samp and beans – for supper, with real maize from a small farmer in Zululand (300km) and sugar beans grown in Richmond (81km). Adding lots of herbs from the garden and a big dollop of Erica Brown’s tree tomato chutney (1km).
I needed to make this sorghum (300km), apple (110km), celery (7km), pecan (11km) and maas (15km) salad to photograph for something else so ate it for breakfast anyway. Inspired by Mpho Tshukudu and featured in her fabulous book Eat Ting.
As the mole rats have destroyed most of my artichoke plants I was very pleased when my pal Bridget Ringdahl offered me some of hers (1km). Nothing nicer for lunch with melted la Petite France butter (6km).
It was a hot day, so I made a regular favourite which needs to cool to be at its best, for supper. Fried courgette slices (grown at Albert Falls 21km) layered with Tatsfield Farm yoghurt (21km) lemon juice and basil leaves. This dish is far more delicious than it sounds.
Richard Haigh of Enaleni Farm is a real locavore. Most things he eats grow within 350m of his kitchen! Really inspiring. He gave me a jar of his home grown homemade guavas recently, perfect for breakfast today with some Wana Farm maas. 55kms for guavas and 12 kms for the maas.
Lunch was zoodled zucchini grown in Albert Falls (42km) with marjoram, radish, chives and pickled radish pods (10m), feta cheese (18km) and tree tomato chutney (grown and bottled 2kms away by Erica Brown).
Early this morning I shelled pecans (8km) for a salad of naartjies (21km), oranges (1km) and yoghurt (20km).
Then we had Mooi River Rusks (sans palm oil) with tea for elevenses. We pay a lot of attention to ingredients to ensure we are not eating orangutans and these buttermilk rusks are one of the few packaged biscuits that don’t include palm oil. Other rusks in their range do, so read every time!
At lunch the golden and choggia beetroot came from Farmer Pitot 57km away but the spring onions, oxalis leaves, celery, radish flowers, thyme and calendula came from the garden.
Supper is Boletus mushrooms harvested in Karkloof by Adrian Hartman (22kms) and oyster mushrooms grown in the Midlands, with tagliatelle from Pasta Perfecta in Kranskop (112km). Sho, 112 km seems very far away. Perhaps I need to take the advice of Cayleigh at Dovehouse Organics and make my own pasta in future. Although it’s so easy when Liesel Landsberg sells this good pasta at the Pietermaritzburg Farmers Market every Saturday morning.
Grabbed a boiled egg from a neighbour’s backyard before yoga and afterwards gathered gooseberries, tree tomatoes, loquats and oxalis flowers (10m) to go with oranges (1km) for a salad.
Lunch was green beans (25kms) with spekboom, nasturtium, tomatoes (10m) and feta (18km).
For supper – simple steamed patty pans (25 km) with Molloy’s Mustard (21km) from Karkloof Farmers Market with yellow beans (18km) and roasted leeks (10m).
Breakfast added up to a massive 257km because I added a drizzle of Msobo jam to the guavas, gooseberries and yoghurt.
Lunch was wood fired whole rye Love Bread made by Pete Goodwin (16km) topped with lettuce (7km) grated beetroot (18km) and homemade radish pod pickles (10m).
It was a hot day. Gin was required as the sun dipped behind the hills. Best mixer is Kombucha made by Anne Marx (21km) with veggie crisps by James Wood to snack on (39km).
Supper was a stir fry – in celebration the black garlic Ben Goodwin gifted me today – grown and processed in Karkloof (21km), with ginger (84km), courgette (21km), celery and spring onions(10m), carrots and red cabbage (18km). Most of this produce purchased from our Midlands treasure Dovehouse Organic Farm Shop.
One of the dishes I wanted to make, but never got around to during these three weeks, was polenta style sorghum (230km), so I made it for Dizzy and Sushi for breakfast this morning (without the garlic, salt and wilted greens). They loved it with lots of top of the milk cream from my friend Sharon’s cow (18km). I liked it too, so certainly will try it again, not only as a breakfast food. I foraged for mulberries (2km).
Then after some early gardening made a pot of tea and a plate of fennel flavoured eggs. So easy and so delicious. A teaspoon of Champagne Valley Stonemill flour (112km) stirred into 4 tablespoons of milk (18km) then added to beaten eggs (1km), stir in chopped spring onions and fennel fronds (10m). Drop spoonfuls into a hot pan to make little crumpet-like omlettes. As one side cooks, flip over to cook the other side.
Lunch is probably the last of the broad beans. I usually eat broad beans with mint, but as there is so much coriander in the garden I tossed them in butter (6km), loads of lemon juice and coriander (10m) instead. Fabulous.
Paul has been in hospital for a few days, so was looking forward to some green and moist food. He chose a veggie soup for supper with lima beans. Mixed leaves, leeks, fennel, thyme, rosemary, chillies and celery from the garden, with beans grown in Dargle (18km) and kohlrabi from Baynesfield. The dogs are having eland (79km) and veggies (18km).
Thank you to all those who work hard to put food on our tables, especially those who do so without unnecessary harm. Thank you to the sun and the bees and butterflies and earthworms too.