Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Dining locally in Winter

Last week was my husband’s and my 30th wedding anniversary. We might have gone on a Caribbean cruise to celebrate, but John decided to surprise me with a stay closer to home at the Black Walnut Guest House in Sturgeon Bay ( He knew this would be a good fit for us, because, as we try to live sustainably, we are assured that the Black Walnut is also striving for sustainability, being a Travel Green Wisconsin business ( Some of the best green practices proprietors Geri Ballard and Mike Shatusky include are use of only non-toxic and biodegradable cleaning and landscaping products, recycling, and minimization of disposable products. A note on the wall in the bathroom states that if we feel we can reuse a towel, we can hang it back up on the rack. Towels left on the floor are fair game for the laundry worker. This practice saves water and energy and reduces the Black Walnut’s contribution to pollution and global warming.

What a surprise to learn that a romantic dinner for two at the Black Walnut was planned for us. This was a very special arrangement, because the dinner needed to accommodate my commitment to the 100-mile Food Challenge that I have been following since mid-June of last year. To find local ingredients for a five course meal in February could be daunting to most cooks, but Judy Samida and Guy Fortin, the chefs hired to cater the meal, are savvy about local supplier. They also have been following the local foods guidelines in their own shopping and eating behaviors. Following is the menu which was cooked in the Black Walnut kitchen and served to us beautifully presented in our private dining room by Guy in full tuxedo.

Appetizers – cherry juice, onion and sun-dried tomato tartlets
Squash ravioli in a b├ęchamel sauce with hickory nuts
Spinach and onion salad with hot bacon dressing and dried cherries. This was garnished with heart-shaped croutons made with Washington Island wheat flour.
Pork tenderloin and potato/asparagus gratin.
Dessert was a strawberry/raspberry sorbet with whipped cream and more dried cherries.

Guy and Judy introduced innkeeper, Geri, to Amy Stich of Cherrydale Farm on County P, Sturgeon Bay. Amy has been supplying 100-mile Food Challenge participants with fresh salad greens, spinach, and eggs during the winter months. She also has stored some of her produce, such as carrots and potatoes, garlic and onions, and these are also currently available for sale at Cherrydale Farm. Geri shopped at Cherrydale Farm to provide us with a beautiful local foods breakfast. Geri said, “It was fun and I enjoy being creative”. Here is the breakfast menu Geri devised.

Carrot/apple juice
Honeycrisp apple parfait with cherry syrup and cream
Cheese omelet with shallots and greens
Roasted fingerling potatoes

I was personally thrilled with the whole experience. There is no need to consider living sustainably, including making a commitment to eating local foods, a hardship. We can live well and do good to the environment at the same time.


Hyline Orchard, Fish Creek (cherry juice, apples, dried cherries)
(920) 868-3067,

Cherrydale Farm, Sturgeon Bay (spinach, eggs, carrots, potatoes)
(920) 743-5546,

Greens N Grains, Egg Harbor (Island wheat flour)
(920) 868-9999,

Door County Custom Meats, Sturgeon Bay (pork)
(920) 746-0304,

Roder Farms, Sturgeon Bay (potatoes)
(920) 743-5306

Renard’s Cheese, Algoma (cheese, cream)
(920) 487-2825

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

How about a potluck?

Would all you Challengers (and future possible Challengers or other locavores) be interested in having a potluck to share our bounty? I think it might be fun to get together at one of the parks, to get to know one another and share recipes, great finds...maybe even bring your favorite farmer.

What do you think? Shall we plan for this...maybe toward the end of July?

Is this blog format working for you?

We're trying this blog format to see if it will serve us well. If you're able to work with it easily -- or if it's not working for you -- please let us hear your comments.

another possibility is a forum-style system, but it's a little more complicated, and also more expensive (this google-blog format is free, which is ideal for a non-profit organization just starting out!).

Please let us hear from you: can you get into the blog comment area all right? (if not, contact Can you navigate well enough? Are you getting the information you need? Would you like more information, more diverse, more sortable...or is this format fine for you?


Where can I get ______?? (I know, I know!!)

If anyone wants to know where to get food items, or can help someone else find something, please comment here...

does anyone know where can we get:

wild rice
oat groats
white flour (for pastries)

Where are you finding your foods?

thought this might be a good place to start contributing food providers that we've found and enjoy. Ann shared some of her ideas in her previous blog.

Please share your comments about where you're finding good food, ok?

We found some of the best hot dogs (in natural casings) we've ever eaten at Miesfeldt's in really great bologna. I need to find out where they actually get their raw materials, though....hopefully somewhere close.

Pepperoni: a friend gave us a stick from Konop's in Stangelville (near Manitowoc), and they do buy their meats locally. Our friend said Konop's has the best ring bologna he's ever had.

Mushrooms:Field and Forest in Peshtigo: not just mushrooms, but instruction on how to grow them.


Good local meals? Let's start a list!

There are so many really great combinations of food....and all right here in Door County. How about let's share meals we've made/eaten/loved....It'd be fun to have a long list....maybe compile them into a recipe book at the end of this year?

Ann mentioned some that she and her daughter have created in the past few days. One we had at our house last night I'd like to share is:

Grilled, bacon-wrapped whitefish (I borrowed this recipe from Jamie Oliver).

4 4-ounce whitefish fillets (caught locally; purchased from Bearcats in Algoma); remove skin, cut into 2" wide pieces; sprinkle with fresh ground pepper and finely chopped fresh tarragon from the garden.
Place the fillets on strips of salty smoked bacon (locally grown pig, purchased at the county fair last August)
Fry the wrapped fillets in an oven-safe sautee pan, drizzled with Wisconsin-grown canola oil until brown on one side; then bake in oven for 20 minutes.

Served with fresh peas (from Malvitz's on County C) and fresh pea pods (from the garden), slightly steamed.

Pile peas on a bed of freshly made angelhair pasta (made with Washington Island wheat and water...that's it!)

Arrange grilled fish/bacon wraps next to peas/pasta and drizzle fish and all with fresh mayonaisse (eggs also from Malvitz), and garnish with finely chopped lemon balm.

Dessert: homemade vanilla ice cream (honey purchased at Jorn's Sugarbush), and freshly sliced strawberries (again...Malvitz!)

meal total: all local (except a little bit of olive oil on the pasta)

Please, please, please contribute your own loca-dish!!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Strawberries make me happy this lovely Summer day.

As long as I keep my belly full, which has been quite easy since the beginning of this challenge, I don't crave other foods.

Breakfast is usually good. Thank goodness for local, natural sweeteners such as Maple Syrup and Honey.

Local Food potlucks will be getting better as time passes.

I'll probably miss chocolate soon.