For the month of June, I will be chronicling my participation in the Third Annual New Orleans Eat Local Challenge. Every day, I will post about all the meals I had the day before and the ups and downs of trying to eat only locally-sourced or grown food. Because this is my first foray into being a "locavore", I will be doing the second-strictest level of the challenge.
Total meals eaten today: 3
Non-local items eaten: 2
Vices: Beer, coffee, bread
The plan yesterday was to get up early and head to the Hollygrove Market and get a good bit of rations for the weekend. I thought a produce box, some eggs, a little meat and maybe some eggs and I'd be good to go. So after another breakfast smoothie I went to check the hours for Hollygrove and found that my best laid plans has been killed before they even begun.
The market is closed on Fridays.
I've talked quite a bit about the pros ans cons to eating local as it relates to practicality and, after week one, I've found my biggest obstacle to still be the fact that local items aren't readily available every day. There is Rouses', of course, but my first trip to the Louisiana-owned supermarket resulted in over $100 of food purchased that didn't seem like a whole lot. By comparison, I can get a lot more produce and even meats and dairy products much cheaper at the farmer's market. Without anything available for lunch (aside from sides of leftover veggies, mashed potatoes and frozen alligator sausage I didn't want to thaw for just one meal), I had to grit it out and weigh my options for eating out.
Thankfully, we're in New Orleans and not only does every restaurant and bar like to hype local food whenever it gets the chance, but deals abound. There are several oyster happy hours across the city, but for my money, nothing beats the 25 cent oyster happy hour from 4-7 p.m. every day at the Blind Pelican on Magazine St. I've decimated five dozen oysters here before and I had four dozen yesterday to hold me over between my breakfast smoothie and dinner. They also have about a dozen local beers on tap so, even though I was indulging in a vice, I was keeping within the spirt of the challenge.
Now anyone who's taken down more than two dozen oysters knows that you'll finish with a serious urge to take a long nap. I fought this with the help of some French Market coffee and walking the dogs. And the knowledge that I still had to make dinner and cook leeks, which I had never done before.
I was assured by the vendor at the farmer's market that cooking leeks was as easy as coating them in barbecue sauce and throwing them on the grill. I'm not sure if I did it right but they were edible enough. Thankfully I had also prepared some sweet potatoes and had leftover spare ribs to eat.
But throughout the day I was nagged by the feeling that I need to plan my days better and that, in of itself, is a challenge. This coming from a person who primarily works from home. I can't imagine the challenge it would be to eat local if you could only shop on certain days that aren't always convenient if you have a 9-5 job.
Thankfully, the Crescent City Farmer's Market would be up and running in the CBD Saturday. I'm anxious to start my second week on the right foot.