Oregon September Challenge

My family decided last month that it would be fun to try to eat only Oregon grown (mostly willamette valley) grown/raised food for the whole month of September. At first I was super excited about the idea as I really value eating whole foods and local eating, but I soon realized that it would take a lot more work than I thought. I think that a lot of people in this area eat a large majority of local foods, but there are many things that most of us eat that of course aren’t local. Like coconut. I LOVE coconut everything. I think that this will be the hardest thing for me to give up for the month.

Though we have this lofty goal, we realized that we have to also be realistic with how we did this challenge, because not only are we not made of money, but I also am a busy mom with 3 kids, and I don’t have the time or energy to live completely little house on the prairie style :). I had to start planning a couple of weeks ahead of time to get a feel for what our menu would be. Here are some pictures of some of the first things that I started gathering:

An overall picture of some of our starter kit for Oregon eating. I forgot to include a few things including a gallon of local honey from Honey Tree Apiaries.

Camas Country Mill grains, Greenwillow Grain Oatmeal, Oregon Wild Rice, and Oregon Grown black beans from the Co-op

In my research to find a good local grain source, I was super excited to find out about Camas Country Mill who has a warehouse in Eugene (some of their products are also sold at Market of Choice and even Peoria Rd. Market).   We are so excited to use many of their grains as meal staples this month including, garbanzo beans, pinto beans, rolled barley, 7 grain cereal blend, Scottish Oats, Flapjax Mix, Coffee Cake mix, whole wheat pastry flour, and some noodles made from their grains. I got additional 25 bags of Hard Spring White Wheat and Rolled Barley. I am so excited to try all of these local grains!

Dairy. There are lots of good local dairy sources. We will be good to go on Milk, cheese, cottage cheese, and yogurt.

Stash Peppermint Tea, Freezer Jam, canned foods all from Oregon, frozen blueberries, raspberries, and local beef from Wahl Family Farm.

Sorry for the poor quality pic, but I wanted to add more goodies that I found. No Oregon challenge would be complete without meat, nuts, and produce. I bought local bacon, a chicken, sausage, cheese, hazelnuts, and hazelnut butter at farmers market. Then at Peoria Rd. Market Farm, I got tons of affordable produce. I froze peach preserve, deyhdrated a bunch of pears, and froze tomato sauce.

 

Our goal is to eat 90% locally this month. We will be making some exceptions like using olive oil, dried herbs, and vinegar. I also have had a hard time finding local popcorn, so I bought “Bob’s Red Mill” popcorn which is an Oregon company, but probably not local grain.  Because I am a busy mama (and just the prep of the food will take longer), I will not post every thing we eat, but I will be posting samples throughout the month of what we are eating.

I have already planned much of the menu for the month, and some examples of the dinners we will be eating will be: homemade pizza, homemade naan bread with hummus, (from local garbanzo beans), steak, bean burritos with local beans and homemade tortillas, sausage quiche, BLT’s, Macn’Cheese, Spaghetti Squash, Chicken Enchilada, Wild Rice Bowl, Roast, Stuffed Peppers, Cauliflower casserole etc… For breakfast we will be doing a  lot of oats, rolled barley, yogurt with homemade granola, eggs from our chickens, fruit, and homemade pancakes. For lunch, we will eat a lot of leftovers and eggs, and Hazelnut and jam sandwiches.

Thanks for following our journey to eat locally. So far our kids are really excited to participate, and Sofia is even quizzing me to make sure that I am not using ingredients that I shouldn’t be.  I would love to hear your ideas for recipes and tips of local brands to buy, and I would LOVE if you decide to join us. Even if you don’t want to commit to as much as we are, I would love to hear what you are doing!! Happy Eating!!

Kacie - September 2, 2014 - 10:04 am

Love this Kara! Thanks for using our beef in your lineup. Major efforts for a busy mama!
Good luck!
Eatin good
Kacie

Amanda Whitmire - September 2, 2014 - 5:12 pm

Wow, Kara! You’ve done so much work already! I know that I’ll be referring back to this post to remember what kinds of things I can try to find locally. I’m looking forward to following along! If other people are interested, I’d love to see some comparison pricing on a few things (the grains, eg., and I had no idea we could get local rice – awesome!). If you have a favorite recipe or two from the experiment (and I know how loose recipes can be), I’d love that, too!

kara - September 3, 2014 - 6:43 pm

Kacie,
Yes, your meat will be used at least a few times this month!! Amanda, I will for sure post some recipes.Feel free to send some my way this month too!!