It has been said that the average piece of produce travels roughly 1,500 miles before it hits your plate. Over time and miles, that amounts to a significant amount of nutrient loss. In just the past two years or so I’ve tried extra hard to locally source my food. If I’m really watching food miles, local is anything from my backyard garden to my neighbor Ed’s hens to Griffieon Family Farm in Ankeny. While I can’t source that close to home year round, (mainly for produce) I do so when I can. I also consider local to be anything from Iowa or maybe a bordering state. Almost all of my meat (except crustaceans for obvious reasons) comes from the Iowa Food Cooperative which supports family farmers plus they give you an abundance of information about their farming practices.
In keeping with local tradition for the fall season, this past Friday I went up to Berry Patch Farm just outside of Nevada, Iowa for apple and late-season berry picking! If you recall, I made the same trek in July to get blueberries and red currants. The berries were far and few between but I was able to get enough to last for a few days at least!
Having grown up in Iowa I’m kind of embarrassed to admit I’ve never gone apple picking. We’d always head to the orchards in Wisconsin as a kid but never pick our own. Well as it turns out, picking your own is very fun and more affordable than having someone else do all that work for you. PYO was $2.25 per pound for honeycrisp and $1.25 per pound for Earligold! The berries were $6 per pound for blackberries and $4 per pound for raspberries.
Another bonus about picking my own is that it encouraged me to try something new, such as Earligold apples! My whole life I’ve been a McIntosh gal (computers and apples!) and I love them so much it’s tough for me to eat other apples, but this year we have a mixture of Macs, Honeycrisp, and Earligolds! In addition to selecting whatever kind of apples you desire, when picking your own you can get seconds, or apples that have fallen off the tree and are bruised. These are great if you are making applesauce or using apples in baking as the bruises have less of an impact.
One thing I have to be careful of this time of year is going overboard with pies, crisps, crunches, and tarts. It can be easy to find yourself coating all your apples in butter and sugar and we know that’s not what the doctor ordered with that “an apple a day” advice eons ago. Here’s a quick little apple platter I whipped up with my Macs and Earligolds! It’s pretty easy. Just slice two apples, arrange on a plate and put a handful of dried fruit in the middle, top with a little peanut butter and coconut flakes and drizzle with honey. It’s a sweet enough treat without the guilt!
What do you consider locally sourced? Do you go by miles or state or a multi-state region? It’s always interesting to know what people consider local fare!