Thursday, September 30, 2010

100 MILE DIET: local eating for global change

Sounds intriguing, doesn't it?

But think about it - if we all started eating locally, as in products produced within 100 miles of our home base, think of how things would change, how our diet would change.

Sounds too restrictive, impossible, unrealistic, painful doesn't it! lol

Well, in reality, up until the 1940's, this was the norm for most Americans. It still holds true for many people around the world.

Of course, we always had our luxury items like oranges and lemons, coffee, tea, and chocolate/cacao, but for the most part, we ate what was produced within a reasonable distance of our home. We canned, dried, cured and stored foods to eat throughout the winter.

Since then, we live in a time of the winter tomato - flown halfway around the world, with 1/10th the flavor, and at 5 times the cost of a real, local tomato of summer.

At Whitmore Farm, we take our seconds from our market tomatoes, still picked at the height of their flavor, and freeze whole and pureed tomatoes which is about as easy as it gets. In January, its simple to pull out a block of tomato for wonderful winter soups and sauces and a real taste of summer in January! Fantastic!

Entire food traditions have slowly withered away. Take winter squash, formerly a STAPLE of the winter diet, high in vitamins A, E, fiber, and flavor.

Who eats winter squash anymore? I mean really!?

So here's an interesting idea then, the 100 mile diet.

The authors of this and other similar websites call it the 'new organic' - better for your health, the environment, your local economy, local farms, and the animals and plants involved.

'Plants?' you say - think of all the grief poor spinach took last year with the great spinach scare because a factory farm contaminated their spinach crop with E. coli tainted water, sickening hundreds? Peanuts again the next year! Talk about unsafe foods!

Also, the 100 miled diet helps reconnect the eater with seasonal foods, foods that have fallen out of favor but have so much to offer in terms of flavor, variety, and nutrition.

While a 6 or 12 month commitment to eating local only might seem overwhelming, consider sponsoring a local dinner for friends and family.

Try something new - pick up a fruit or vegetable you've never used before, take it home, and check online for a tasty recipe to try.

Join a CSA for a season and try to use everything you get - seriously, just TRY! lol Most CSA members complain that they can't come close to finishing everything in their box or basket. A CSA can be a very economical way of feeding your family, all the while supporting local agriculture.

Most city folks are surprised at how much fun they have visiting and working on the farm, and for those of you on a budget, many CSA allow the exchange of labor for food shares.

To get you started, here's a recipe from FOOD&WINE for spicy squash with cavatelli, but I substitute whatever kind of pasta I have - larger pasta like rigatoni work better than spaghetti or linguini:


  1. 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  2. 6 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  3. 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
  4. 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
  5. 2 pounds winter squash—peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  6. 1 tablespoon finely chopped thyme
  7. Salt and freshly ground pepper
  8. 1 1/2 pounds cavatelli, small shells, rigatoni, etc
  9. 3/4 cup freshly grated caciocavallo, pecorino or Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving.


  1. 1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic, onion and crushed red pepper and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the garlic and onion are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the squash and thyme, season with salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cover and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender, about 5 minutes.

    2. Meanwhile, add the cavatelli to the boiling water and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking water. Add the cavatelli to the squash mixture in the skillet, then stir in 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water and toss gently to combine. Add the 3/4 cup of caciocavallo, season with salt and pepper and stir gently; add a little more pasta water if necessary. Serve the pasta right away, passing more cheese at the table.


1 comment:

  1. Kent-you are the beast. I need to find you to get some eggs! I'll try your recipe!