I had the pleasure, this past weekend to go out to eat at Barley + Rye, a local restaurant. They only use food grown, in season from a 150 mile radius outside our city. If you ever get to this neck of the woods, do stop by and give this restaurant a visit. A few years ago, there was a book titled “ The 100-Mile Diet: A Year of Local Eating” by Alisa Smith + J.B. MacKinnon. It was written by two Canadians (2007) that restricted their diet, for one year, to include only foods grown within 100 miles radius of their residence. Many people jumped on the bandwagon to only eat food from a hundred mile distance from where they lived. It is a lot harder than you can imagine. It was an exciting challenge and many people who read this book wrote about 100-Mile Diet on blogs, articles or did mini-films about the experience. It was not as easy to find substitutes for what they were regularly eating.
I admired the chef at Barley + Rye for he took only local ingredients and made dishes from those vegetables /meats. It is a difficult task to get people to eat locally, for the food will have a different flavor since it is fresh. As I grow more of my produce on our city lot, I find eating out at local restaurants a challenge. Local restaurant menus are made from vegetables sent across many miles usually sitting on shelves for long periods + you can taste the difference. I was thrilled to go out to eat at Barley + Rye for their menu is made up of 90 percent locally grown from a 150 mile radius!
Most people who eat a fresh grown tomato will never want another grocery store “blah” tomato again!
I found it interesting when one of the people, I was sitting next to at the restaurant asked for ketchup and the waitress answered, ” We have a house ketchup.” Wow!The ketchup was made from local tomatoes. They list the farms that they do business with locally. In the past, I had bought from these farmers at the Davenport Freight House. I started growing our urban potager back in 2000 once I realized I could grow many of the foods on my city lot. What I can’t grow, I buy from local farmers. When you start eating more locally or growing your food, you will notice new flavors.It just tastes better,don’t you agree?
I ordered the Brussel Sprout Salad, and I chatted with the waitress about the dish. The Chef made his Brussel Sprout salad by pulling apart the tiny leaves and flashing them in a pan individually. What an artistic creation this salad was for he served it in a beautiful “odd-shaped” bowl. I feel a chef that takes the time to cook + present their food in this way is an artist! Here, is their menu for this month…
The waitress said they had to change it for it was filled with many vegetables as cucumbers + tomatoes that were no longer available. I asked her if the Brussel Sprouts were local, and she said, “Yes” which thrilled me!
I had purchased Brussel Sprouts from the local farmers on their menu, so I knew the answer. I could not resist asking, “I bet you are eating a lot of kale?” She laughed for I knew; I have a lot of kale growing in my urban potager. Kale will handle cold extremes in the teens…
but that is for another post…Eating A LOT of Kale Lately? I don’t mind for it tastes best this time of year!