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First 2.5 Weeks of my Locavore Challenge – What is “Philly” local?
Food

First 2.5 Weeks of my Locavore Challenge – What is “Philly” local?

struggles of locavore for 40 daysConfession: When I chose to “go local” for 40 days, I didn’t really prepare.

My first email from a friend addressed the biggest hurdle:  “Sounds quite intense my friend… What if you wanna go out and get a drink? you’re going to 40 days of local brews. ”  

(But to calm your beer belly fears, there’s typically at least 1 or 2 varieties of local wine in Philly liquor stores.)

Since I’ve started my challenge, I’m determined to find products produced within a 75- mile radius.

Some may fear there’s not a lot of brand choices locally produced, but it can really cut time weighing purchase options.  For example, my yogurt run to Whole Foods only presented 1 local choice: Pequea Valley Farms.  Luckily there were 6 different flavors! (And it is quite tasty.)

One con: While Philly produce typically has a lot of varieties in the summer, there’s not as much locally available in the off-season. Whole Foods only has one local variety of fruit: Fuji Apples.

40 day locavore challengeYet there are quite a few local-based options in other categories.  For snacks, Bobbi’s Best Hummus is made right here in Phila! And Uniquely Greek is produced right in the Philly Suburbs of Boothwyn, PA.

One catch though: When I checked Uniquely Greek’s website, I noticed their Kalamata Olives (for that same-titled flavor) are imported from Greece.  (Note: I do not know where their spinach or roasted red pepper is sourced from.)

I wouldn’t single out Uniquely Greek (and their spreads are QUITE salivating-ly delicious), but once you purchase something pre-made, chances are all of the products aren’t produced locally. Local designers probably use imported cotton (at least outside of Philly).  Coffee grown in the US is primarily produced in Hawaii.  Yet how sustainable is importing from Hawaii VS getting Coffee from the Caribbean?

To an extent, it seems that few things are “100%” local.  I will admit: I’m quite excited to join a CSA this summer and prepare ‘mostly local’ meals.  But while this week’s temperatures feel like spring, the produce hasn’t caught up.

I’m still facing these local vs sustainable & seasonal questions as I go through the challenge.  I ask many more questions to servers, grocery stores, and even email or call companies to ask about their sourcing.  I’ll continue to research throughout these 40 days.

And I’ll be weighing my sustainable, local, smart choices the best I can.

 

Photos courtesy of Vegan Soapbox via Susan Wolsborn & the Tiny Life

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Julie Hancher is Editor-in-Chief of Green Philly, sharing her expertise of all things sustainable in the city of brotherly love. She enjoys long walks in the park with local beer and greening her travels, cooking & cat, Sir Floofus Drake. View all posts by Julie Hancher

2 thoughts on “First 2.5 Weeks of my Locavore Challenge – What is “Philly” local?

  1. Keep up the good work! Have you given Puerto Rican coffee a try? To me, it’s as least as good as the Hawaiian stuff. There’s nothing like brewing coffee within a couple of weeks of it being roasted; but if you want to get something grown relatively close AND U.S.-made, try Yaucono or Yauco. My girlfriend found it somewhere in Philly.

  2. Thanks B. Bean! I haven’t tried the Puerto Rican coffee but will def look out to try it. I need a refill for my reusable eco-pods for the single cup.

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