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.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Local food research

I thought you all might benefit from the research I have done to find local foods. I think it is a good idea to include my dead ends, as well as successes, so that you don't need to go through the same process.

Butter: Buttercup brand is made by Pine River Dairy in Manitowoc. I called them to find out where their milk comes from, and the farthest dairy farm they source from is near Fond du Lac, which, by my calculations, is just inside the 100 mile radius circle. Buttercup is available from Rendard's Cheese for $2.60/lb.

Cream: Call ahead to Renard's to find out if they have cream available. It's not available every day. I'm not sure if the Hwy 57 store has it, but the one on County Road S does. 743-6626

Cheese: Of course Renard's has cheese. They sell many types, some of which they make themselves from milk from about 30 local dairy farms. Renards makes all the cheddar they sell and also Monterey Jack, string cheese, colby, brick, and muenster. I'm not sure about mozzarella, but I know the parmesan they sell is not made by them, and therefore is not made with local milk. Because I really love parmesan, I traced the source back to the dairy that makes it to learn the hard news.

Ice cream: Schopf's dairy farm sells their milk to Land O Lakes which mixes it with milk from farms both inside and outside our Challenge area. Then they ship it to a different facility in De Pere where even more milk from other places is put into the mix. Finally the milk comes back to the Dairy View Country Store where it is made into ice cream. So, no chance for a local product there, though perhaps some of the milk molecules are actually from Schopf's cows. (I have a hard time understanding how this is cost effective, but it must be. Cost effectiveness is the impetus for many of our unsustainable behaviors.)

Hot dogs: The meat eaters in my family are fond of Salmon's hot dogs which are made in Luxemburg. I called them to learn that they get most of their meat from Packerland Packing in Green Bay. A call to Packerland revealed the fact that Salmon's hot dogs are made with meat which comes from any possible place in the country. Too bad. Marchant's in Brussels may have sausages, if not hot dogs, made from local meats. If anyone calls them, please post the results of your research.

Sorghum: I made a new discovery. Mr. Wittgreve of Rolling Meadows Farm in Elkhart Lake grows and processes delicious sorghum syrup. In a cup of hot water with cream, this will replace hot cocoa for my daughter and me this winter. It's also good on fried corn meal mush. $5.00/pint. Rolling Meadows Farm can be reached by calling 920 876-2182.

More research results later,

So far, so good

Hello from Locavoreland in Clay Banks,

Sally and I have been managing quite well this first week of the Challenge. We had done some homework and stocking up of food items that are locally grown and processed. For example, we have a 50 pound bag of Roder Farm potatoes, and about 75 pounds of frozen Door County Kraut. We also stopped at the Oneida Nation agricultural community's retail store on our way to the Renewable Energy Fair last week and picked up 20 pounds of white corn flour. On the way home we stopped at Caprine Supreme, a goat dairy in Black Creek, and picked up cheese and yogurt.

Here is a menu of Day One of The Challenge:

Breakfast - roasted corn mush with maple syrup (Cherrydale Farm), cream (Renard's Cheese) and strawberries from my freezer.

Lunch - egg and cheese omelet, applesauce.

Dinner - baked potatoes with goat feta and cream, asparagus, salad.

Yesterday I made bread with Island Wheat flour which I bought at Greens & Grains in Egg Harbor. It is very sustainable bread; a little goes a long way.

The Challenge requires that we exercise our ingenuity. I am very much missing salad dressing. I made a satisfactory dressing by blending cutting celery leaves and walking onion scapes from my garden with cream, salt and paprika.

However, if anyone has a recipe for a salad dressing that uses no oil, I would certainly like to have it. Also, does anyone have a source for local vinegar? I am in the process of making some out of cider from Robertson Orchard, but it takes 4 months. I would like to have some to use in the mean time.

By the way, Kris Robertson told me he still has frozen cider for sale. Call him at 743-1351.

Monday, June 23, 2008

wobbling off to a start

Day 3: I'm already getting that good dose of reality that our ancestors must have had in starting their new western settlements. I went into this Challenge with eyes wide open...but now without a safety net of grocery stores, I'm realizing this could be even more challenging than I thought. The growing season is late this year, so my pantry is nearly bare: a few jars of tomato sauce and pickles left; a couple pounds of local flour on hand; some venison and whitefish in the freezer. Peas and strawberries are late, cherries won't be available at all, it seems. I can see ahead of me at least two weeks of mostly greens, asparagus, a few of last year's remaining potatoes, and whatever else I can scrounge.

I'm going to try my best to live without that easy net of available grocery store food for this entire next year, seven days a week (except when we are out of town...and except for buying spices, olive oil and coffee!). I spend a lot of time cooking already (it's a passion); but I can see that this will be the year of inventiveness coming to the forefront, and I suspect the kitchen will become more my second home than ever before. I also suspect that I'll be taking my vegetable garden much, much more seriously!!


Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Everyone who takes the Door County 100-Mile Food Challenge sets his/her own parameters. Some will decide to eat one locally-sourced meal a week for three months. Others will try to eat only locally grown and processed foods for the entire Challenge year (June 21st, 2008 - June 20th, 2009). I have decided to try to make it through the whole year because I want to test the possibilities of eating well in four seasons. These are the foods I will exempt from my Challenge plan (so far): salt and leavening agents such as yeast and baking powder. I reserve the right to add foods to my list of exemptions as needed to make it through the year in a relative state of health and happiness. For instance, I may decide to add flavorings of one kind or another - vanilla and/or spices - if life gets really dreary. I am also continuing to take a multivitamin (not technically food). What are your parameters?

A little explanation

This blog is designed to have quite a few people making contributions. But to start a post you need a password and you need to know how to get to the starting place. Instructions were sent out several weeks ago, but many people didn't keep them. If you would like to be one of those who starts the posts just send an email to or and you'll get the scoop!
Dave Lea

Friday, June 6, 2008

Anticipating the Challenge

Well, here we are on the 100-mile food challenge blog! My daughter, Sally, and I have been anticipating the food challenge for months now, imagining what it will be like to eat only local foods. I'll ask Sally to comment for herself, but I'll say that my feelings and thoughts have been many and varied. Everytime I sit down to a meal I think, "Now, which of these things will we be able to eat on our local foods 'diet' in June?" Frankly there have been quite a few meals which wouldn't have yielded much to either sustain or satisfy.
My feelings have ranged from excitement to dread. I have thought about the upcoming strawberry, tomato, and sweet corn seasons with pleasure, and have enjoyed making lists of all the many wonderful foods available within 100-miles. And there have also been instances when I thought, "We're gonna starve!"
We have begun to stock our pantry with preserved local foods. Sally and I froze our asparagus last week. We haven't eaten much fresh; it is prioritized for the freezer in anticipation of June 21st.
Also in our freezer I have squirreled away 10 pounds of whole wheat flour from Washington Island, and 10 pounds of heirloom white corn meal from TsyunhehkwA, the Oneida agricultural community. I still have a few raspberries and strawberries from last year in the freezer. They will hold us over until these things are ripe this summer. Currently, until the Challenge begins, local foods on our shelves are off limits to the family; I am trying instead, to use up things which we will not be able to eat during the Challenge.
I hope other Door County locavores will comment on this blog, share recipes, and research they have done to find local food sources. In future posts I will share some of the contacts with food producers and providers which I have established.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Take the Challenge

This blog is to discuss our successes and challenges in eating locally grown and produced foods.