I'm participating in the fourth annual Eat Local Challenge. Its goal is to encourage people to eat more local foods and support the local economy.
Last year was my first year to participate, and I earned a T-shirt by shopping at the Lawrence Farmers’ Market and by eating at Lawrence restaurants that use local ingredients.
This year’s Challenge started with a shopping trip on Sunday to The Merc Community Market and Deli, 901 Iowa, which has more than 800 locally-produced items. In 2010, The Merc purchases more than $1 million annually from more than 200 local producers. Fifty-two percent of the meat that's sold there is raised locally.
Here’s what I purchased for $24.14:
• A loaf of frozen Ezekiel low-sodium sprouted grain bread — $4.59.
• Pita chips — $2.55.
• Hummus — $3.99. It was made in Kansas City.
• Brown eggs — $3.39.
• Fat-free vanilla yogurt — $3.39.
• Peaches — $3.74. They were from Colorado.
• Cantaloupe — $2.49. Grown by a Lawrence farmer.
I then finished my grocery shopping at the two nearby stores at which I usually shop. While in the stores, I wrote down the prices that I would have paid for the items above. The total came to $18.33, a savings of $5.81. But, none of the items were locally-produced.
Prices at the other grocery store:
• A loaf of frozen Ezekiel low-sodium sprouted grain bread — $3.59.
• Pita chips — $2.68.
• Hummus — $2.98.
• Brown eggs — $3.18.
• Fat-free vanilla yogurt — $2.69.
• Peaches — $1.22.
• Cantaloupe — $1.99.
The peaches look much better than their counterparts at the larger supermarket; I'll try them later. The cantaloupe's cut up and put it in the refrigerator — we'll try them tonight. The hummus was well worth the extra dollar.
Sunday’s shopping inspired me to do a more detailed comparison of basic local foods. How do they compare in price to those that come from elsewhere? More importantly, how do they taste?
Yesterday, I did a price comparison on the following items: tomatoes, cucumbers, cantaloupe, chicken, hamburger, milk and bread. We're doing a taste-test of the items, excluding the meat. I'll let you know the results of both later this week.
Oh — and back to what led me down this path. So far, I’ve earned one sticker on my Eat Local Challenge passport. I’ve got six more to go before I earn the prize — a $5 Lawrence Farmers Market token.
How are you doing?
Tagged: Eat Local Challenge