Ohio’s “Eat Local Challenge Week” – The Challenge is Trying It All

By Chris Thomas, Public News Service – OH
October 1, 2010

WOOSTER, Ohio – Get out those skillets and saucepans! Saturday kicks off “Eat Local Challenge Week,” a celebration of products made and grown in Ohio. With the enormous variety available, the biggest challenge may be deciding which to try.

One way to pare down the choices is to look for the organic foods, offered by producers who pass up pesticides and growth hormones and use farming methods that are easy on the environment. That tip comes from Lauren Ketcham with the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association.

“Just because a food is being made or produced locally does not mean that it’s being raised in a way that safeguards the environment and protects public health. The best thing you can do as a consumer is look for food that’s produced both organically and here in Ohio, locally.”

The Ohio Agriculture Department says the idea of the challenge is to fix one meal a day using local foods. Ketcham suggests just a few of the mouth-watering menu possibilities, all easy to prepare.

“Fall salads are a good choice right now, with sliced apples or feta cheese. Bell peppers are in season and are great stuffed with grass-fed beef, garden herbs and local cheese. Another simple option is a frittata: farm-fresh eggs, baby spinach, broccoli and local bacon.”

She lists several good reasons to buy locally, including knowing exactly where your food comes from, supporting Ohio’s family-farm businesses, and helping the environment.

“Buying local keeps food from traveling far distances to your plate, allows it to be picked and sold ripe and full of flavor and nutrition, and helps reduce some of the environmental impacts of long-distance shipping.”

It will take more than a week to sample everything Ohio food producers are selling, Ketcham says, adding that there are locally-made wines and beers to wash it down. Farmers markets and farmstands are good places to start looking. The Association also has a directory of organic producers online at www.oeffa.org.

More information about Eat Local Challenge Week is available at www.agri.ohio.gov.

Story first appeared: http://www.publicnewsservice.org/index.php?/content/article/16254-1