I must say it was with a sense of relief that I finished up my self-imposed Saanich Peninsula Diet this past week. I wasn`t as strict as I had anticipated being, mostly because I kept being away from home on weekends, and while I could have packed all my food, I had decided to try and eat locally wherever I was. This was more challenging than I had thought it would be.
We really do have most foods available on the Saanich Peninsula, all the eggs, poultry and meat that you could wish, lots of veggies and fruit available, at least at this time of the year. Whole wheat flour and lentils are available. While I haven`t seen dried beans, I grow several varieties. Honey is plentiful for a sweetener. Dairy is the only thing that is not available as a strictly Saanich Peninsula product and Saanich Peninsula cows do contribute to the local milk.
On the positive side I found a lot of roadside stands down roads I don`t usually travel, I ate very healthily, stuck to whole foods, supported local farmers, farmer`s markets and the local food movement.
The biggest negative is just the lack of convenience, the needing to do so much planning ahead. While I usually plan dinners for the week ahead, I haven`t normally planned breakfasts or lunches. I missed trying out new recipes, in terms of limited use of seasonings. I missed the occasional treat when I was out and about.
I am really not sure about costs and it would be extremely complicated to work it out. Some things (local meat) cost more than the grocery store, some things (veggies) cost less. Fruit was variable. We had one of our teenagers move out during this time period which significantly changed our grocery consumption. I suspect in the long run if you were to continue without the “seasonings“ type of food products you would probably save money. The more you are able to shop at your local farmer`s market or roadside stand, the more you can stay out of grocery stores, thus eliminating those impulse purchases. Obviously if you are fortunate enough to be able to raise your own meat, grow veggies and fruit, you are well ahead.
I am glad that I took on this challenge as it did make me realise that it is entirely possible to eat locally, and with preparation, you could do it year round. It would be an interesting challenge to try and figure out just what you would need to put away for your family to be able to be able to stick to eating locally.
I`d be interested to hear if any of my readers decide to take on the local food challenge.
PS The Denman Island chocolate bar WAS really good.