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The 100-mile diet: local eating is challenging, but rewarding

By in News
Open air markets are a good source of local produce
Trying to eat food that wasn’t shipped across the world can be hard. This is even more so when you limit yourself to food grown within 100 miles. Especially in Saskatchewan — in the winter.

But just because it is hard to make the transition doesn’t mean it’s not well worth it. Eating local is great for a variety of reasons: you get to support your local farmers and economy, reduce your carbon footprint and know where your food is actually coming from.

In Saskatoon there are several restaurants and grocers that pride themselves on keeping things

Daniel Walker, the owner and chef of Weczeria, says he strives to keep his business local especially during the winter when it can be difficult getting produce.

“Winter is especially hard because there are no year-round greenhouse concessions,” said Walker. “You have to be creative.”

Walker explained that he cans things like tomatoes in the summer, then uses them throughout the winter months.

Additionally, Weczeria does all baking in-house, and gets the majority of their supplies from local markets.

One of the few Saskatoon markets that guarantee local product is SaskMade Marketplace.

SaskMade Marketplace offers a large assortment of food, from grain products and pastas to meats.

According to Ken Neuman, the manager of SaskMade Marketplace, local suppliers are an integral part of their business.

“We deal with Saskatchewan people in all areas possible,” said Neuman, “right down to the suppliers we use for products like cleaning supplies. The bulk of our products are obviously local — saskatoon berry products, for example.”

An important factor that ensures high-quality product is the personal relationship that exists between local market and producer. Neuman claims SaskMade Marketplace gets extensive knowledge of all their products straight from the producer, which they can then pass on to the consumer.

Abigail Anderson, a farmer from Dunblane, Sask. says her family has been farming their land for 35 years and offer a market garden with a large variety of vegetables and fruits. They also sell local honey.

“Eating locally is not as difficult as people think as long as people invest some time and money at first,” Anderson said. “In the long run it helps to save on both of those fronts, as well as ensure that you and your family are eating healthy, well-grown foods.”

Anderson said she uses four main techniques to keep things local: root cellars, cold storage, deep freezing and dehydration.

She explained that all of these methods allow for longer preservation of produce, and can usually make it last until spring if everything is done correctly.

“It should be important for people to know where their food is coming from and the best way to do this is to buy locally,” said Anderson.

Tips on how to make the 100-mile transition:

  • Try canning and preserving your produce. What’s nice is that you have unlimited options here. Try adding some herbs and spices to what you can and preserve, so when it comes time to use them, you have lots of delicious cooking options.

  • Make your own bread. This is great because, once again, you can basically do anything you want with it. Invest in a bread machine, and create your own bread at a fraction of the cost. In the end, frugal students and professionals alike will have some extra cash in their pockets — and what’s better than having a little extra cash?

  • Support your local farmers by shopping at stores that put the extra effort in to make sure what they offer is local. Check out, a website that lists everything from restaurants to grocery stores that strive to make their products local.

  • Root cellars, cold storage, deep freezing and dehydrating might not all be a possibility for you, but one of them is sure to work.

image: Nguyendoung/Flickr

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