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The Seattle 100 Mile Diet Game


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Ever since reading this thread, I can't help but analyzing everything I am eating to see if it would fall into that radius and, if not, could I find something to substitute that would. Even though I like to think I eat locally, am I really or am I just fooling myself? When I'm not eating locally is it because I am not aware that there is a locally produced product available? It is shocking to see what small area makes up a 100 mile area around Seattle. To give you an idea, starting from the BC border and moving clockwise, the borders of an approximate circle would be Mt. Baker, Wenatchee, Ellensburg, Castle Rock and Victoria. That doesn't leave much!

I thought it might be fun to see if we can put our collective heads together and come up with local sources for things that may not be obviously "local". Or maybe come up with alternatives (ie another oil to be used in place of olive oil). Sound fun?

One of the things that comes to mind right off is coffee. Now I assume that there is no way to get coffee beans from that 100 mile radius. But is there a reasonable alternative?

What about salt? I've never seen a local producer of salt but there must be one, doncha think?

Here's an interesting article by someone who attempted to do something similar. I bet we can come up with more ideas.........

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I thought this was a cool idea as well, assuming you accept the "marco polo rule" mentioned in the thread of allowing spices to come from foreign parts (maybe specifying that they have to come from a small local store as a way of paliating the rule-bending factor?)

I'd personally prefer 150 miles so that we could include all the yummy produce and wine from Eastern Washington, but I can see that the 100 mile limit would force you to be more creative. what about "local" wineries that source their grapes from yakima? and local bakeries that buy flour from elsewhere? how strict do you want to get?

Of course my refridgerator is packed to the brim right now with foreign cheeses :wub: so there's no way I can even try to eat really locally for another week or so...

Do you suffer from Acute Culinary Syndrome? Maybe it's time to get help...

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Obviously there are no "rules" about what we can and can not include. I wasn't necessarily intending to actually follow the diet, but was using it as a starting point for discussion.

Flour was one of the things Paul and I were discussing this weekend. Is there any grain that can be used for flour-like purposes grown within 100 miles?

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When shipping was more expensive, people used to drink "coffee" made out of stuff like chicory root and roasted grains. Here's something similar:

http://www.dadamo.com/typebase4/recipedepictor.cgi?460

If chicory root is from the same chicory that's going crazy in my garden I have plenty you can have...

At Quillisascut we tried our best to eat from the farm and locally. Olive oil, coffee, and salt were probably our biggest cheats (the coffee was still roasted locally). Another thing that we missed was lemon. We made up for it with a combination of verjus from grapes and other unripe fruit and herbs like lemon verbena.

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Flour was one of the things Paul and I were discussing this weekend. Is there any grain that can be used for flour-like purposes grown within 100 miles?

I don't know of any grain, but will corn or potatoes do? I know my CSA farm (in Kent) has planted some corn for the fall, and I've seen potato farms in the Skagit valley.

Edited by laurel (log)
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When shipping was more expensive, people used to drink "coffee" made out of stuff like chicory root and roasted grains.

If it tastes anything like the chicory coffee they drink in New Orleans, I might just have to give up coffee :raz:

Edited by LEdlund (log)

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Another thing that we missed was lemon.  We made up for it with a combination of verjus from grapes and other unripe fruit and herbs like lemon verbena.

Medievally verjus could also be made from unripe apples. Several years ago (before we knew to thin the fruit) one of the branches of our apple tree came down from the weight of the fruit before the apples were ripe. We juiced them green & it made a wonderful souring agent! I keep meaning to make more (skipping the broken branch step!) because it was a really lovely unique flavor.

I know that wheat CAN grow here as a friend grew some in her garden down in renton a few years back for a project she was working on, but I highly doubt that anyone is doing so commercially. what about legume flours as a sub? anyone growning chana dal locally?

Do any of the local nut growers produce nut oils? almond oil is wonderfully neutral tasting (I don't know if it has a high smoke point though) and of course for many applications you can just use lard, if you want to render down a batch of pig/beef fat.

Do you suffer from Acute Culinary Syndrome? Maybe it's time to get help...

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This would really be an interesting project, and I think we'd fare just fine with all the meats, fish, cheeses and dairy products, fruits, and vegetables. Honey would be ok, but sugar would be a problem still, as would maple syrup. Coffee, tea, and grains would be right out, so far as I know. Also, rice and the various beans might be hard to come by, although in a 200 mile radius I think we'd fare better on both grains and legumes. Then we could have wine too - the wines I know of that are made with local grapes are not worth drinking, unless I'm missing something. How about a Washington-only diet, plus spices and olive oil?

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\. Honey would be ok, but sugar would be a problem

I have no idea how it is done, but isn't it possible to make sugar from beets? Goodness knows there are lots of beets within 100 miles of here. And cranberries too, for that matter, but they don't make sugar, they take sugar to become edible. Gee, I am starting to see red...Washington is big on red fruit...cherries, apples, cranberries, raspberries, strawberries, red grapes...maybe we could go for diet by mileage radius and color zones?

This kind of idea is eggzactly my idea of a good time.

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Do any of the local nut growers produce nut oils?  almond oil is wonderfully neutral tasting (I don't know if it has a high smoke point though) and of course for many applications you can just use lard, if you want to render down a batch of pig/beef fat.

Holmquist Hazelnut Orchards in Lynden. Google maps says Lynden is 102.8 miles from Seattle by road, so they should just make it if we're going as the crow flies...

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the wines I know of that are made with local grapes are not worth drinking, unless I'm missing something. 

That was the topic of last nights discussion. Maybe we should make it a "Washington only" diet. That way we could include flour. I found this about wheat grown in Washington when I was doing some poking around yesterday.

Another interesting article about Washington crops is this one published by Washington State University.

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This sounds really interesting and I really do try to eat locally already but trying to adhere even mostly to an all Washington diet would rule out just about all asian dishes for me, which are a pretty big staple in my diet. Hmmm, gonna have to think about how to get around that, and no I'm not going to start fermenting things on my deck. :smile:

Rocky

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...an all Washington diet would rule out just about all asian dishes for me, which are a pretty big staple in my diet. 

Rocky, can you give some examples of what it would eliminate for you? I had (perhaps mistakenly) been thinking that an asian diet might be easier to maintain.

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Hi Lauren,

All tofu except the really basic stuff, dried noodles and most fresh ones too, pickled goods, just about all asian produce except for things like bok choy and napa cabbage that are popular these days, bamboo, a lot of the mushrooms (straw, enoki, matsutake, black fungus, and reasonably priced shitake spring to mind), sausages, wrappers (dumpling skins, won ton skins, egg roll wrappers, rice paper, etc.), tuna of all sorts, leaves like banana and taro, taro root, daikon worth eating, kelp, yam flour, rice flour, corn starch, rice of all sorts, and lotus root off the top my head. The list of condiments, spices, and sauces is really long but they don't count under the rules, but there are a lot of them. I usually keep an eye out for things at the farmers markets or at Central Market but I rarely see anything added in the way of asian ingredients because many just won't grow here. Which just reminded me, mangoes, ginger, lemon grass, pineapples, and a whole slew of fruit. Man, this is tough. I suspect that this would be much easier to do in California than anywhere else.

Rocky

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Matsutake definitely grows here, so does kelp (not sure if it's the same kind). Shiitake from the guy at Pike Place last year was around $6, which is pretty reasonably priced for me. I saw banana leaves (probably from Eastern Washington) in the farmer's market last year. Columbia City farmer's market seems to have a slightly larger selection of asian produce than the others, but I agree, they're hard to find. I meant to grow some of my own this year (a good source for seed seems to be: http://www.kitazawaseed.com/index.html). There are probably a lot of things that do grow here, but nobody is growing them commercially (like lemongrass, bamboo...).

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I forgot about the matsutake, I got some last year and they were so skunky I gave up on them. Laurel, where did you get yours? It would be nice to some fresh ones that are non-skunky. The kelp here is not the right type, and I should have stated that it's the prepared stuff that I had in mind. That is a decent price for shitake though. I'll have to keep an eye out.

Rocky

Edited by rockdoggydog (log)
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I forgot about the matsutake, I got some last year and they were so skunky I gave up on them.  Laurel, where did you get yours?  It would be nice to some fresh ones that are non-skunky.

They were all over the place... some of the best I got were from the guy who sells salmon at the Indian Center at 12th and Weller some Friday afternoons.

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I know that soybeans grow around here so why is it that we can only get basic tofu? Is the demand for local too small? Same with lemongrass, bamboo etc.... I guess that is the same question for the prepared items you're talking about. Is the demand for locally grown and produced items too small?

I have never heard of rice (which turns into flour which turns into noodles, wrappers etc) growing around here. Has anyone else?

Corn Starch! There must be a local corn starch. Does anyone know where Bob's Red Mill gets the raw material for the items they sell? I know they are in Oregon but they seem to produce a lot of the staples that are hard to find.

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Rocky

I forgot about the matsutake, I got some last year and they were so skunky I gave up on them. Laurel, where did you get yours? It would be nice to some fresh ones that are non-skunky. The kelp here is not the right type, and I should have stated that it's the prepared stuff that I had in mind. That is a decent price for shitake though. I'll have to keep an eye out.

Rocky

Rocky,

Cathy and I are traveling this Fall or I would bring you some. Last Fall we had so many we were taking them to the Japanese Retirement Home. Still have some buttons frozen whole if you'd like to try them. Asians I know freeze them this way but they seem very watery to me.

By the way, didn't Cascadia start out this way (only food from the Cascade Mt. range) and then abandon that notion?

Dave

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I know that soybeans grow around here so why is it that we can only get basic tofu? Is the demand for local too small? Same with lemongrass, bamboo etc.... I guess that is the same question for the prepared items you're talking about. Is the demand for locally grown and produced items too small?

I have never heard of rice (which turns into flour which turns into noodles, wrappers etc) growing around here. Has anyone else?

Corn Starch! There must be a local corn starch.  Does anyone know where Bob's Red Mill gets the raw material for the items they sell? I know they are in Oregon but they seem to produce a lot of the staples that are hard to find.

I've never heard of rice being grown here either. As for tofu and other products many of the importers in Cali are also producers for the items that can be made here and are often made from ingredients that are in turn also imported or grown in Cali. It's not so much a matter of demand here, as it is that the imported stuff is so cheap and are the same brands that many immigrants and their families are used to seeing and using that there are very few local producers of any kind for many of the items. This coupled with the serious economies of scale involved in most of the foodstuffs tends to concentrate the number of producers.

There are also a number of items that the raw materials for are very cheap outside of the U.S. because they are grown in more quantity and are normal crops and not subject to the vagaries of trendiness in food, mustard greens come to mind especially. What is available here is incredibly expensive in comparison because not that much is grown for consumption here in the NW and the trendiness of greens lately has driven prices up even more.

Tofu only benefits from being fresh in a few basic forms, and so local producers will only concentrate on producing those, as they would get their brains beaten in trying to compete costwise with larger operations whether based overseas or in California or elsewhere. The advent of modern shipping and packaging and the proximity of the West Coast to Asia only makes market forces even stronger. What drives me nuts is seeing tofu I know was produced in China priced at or near the same price as say Thanh Son tofu produced down on 12th.

Rocky

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Rocky,

Cathy and I are traveling this Fall or I would bring you some.  Last Fall we had so many we were taking them to the Japanese Retirement Home.  Still have some buttons frozen whole if you'd like to try them.  Asians I know freeze them this way but they seem very watery to me.

By the way, didn't Cascadia start out this way (only food from the Cascade Mt. range) and then abandon that notion?

Dave

Dave,

I would love to take you up on this, maybe next year. I've never really gone along with the freezing of fungus, I am a big fan of drying though.

Rocky

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Really interesting discussion. You know, oddly enough, I think what I'd miss most is citrus--lemons, limes and oranges especially. I use them in almost everything I cook and drink. I was raised with them growing in my grandmothers front yard and I still have to pinch myself to remember that they come from another place now. Much as I love lemongrass, it just isn't quite the same.

I also would miss the rice and soy products.

My questions is, could rice, soy and/or citrus be grown anywhere in Washington?

I think this type of local eating would be great in the summer and really suck come winter, unless you lived further south--as Rocky said, it'd be easier in CA.

Jan

PS: Imagine cocktails without citrus :shock:

*edited to correct typo.

Edited by SeaGal (log)

Jan

Seattle, WA

"But there's tacos, Randy. You know how I feel about tacos. It's the only food shaped like a smile....A beef smile."

--Earl (Jason Lee), from "My Name is Earl", Episode: South of the Border Part Uno, Season 2

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