When I read that Edible Baja Arizona’s Kate Selby is challenging herself to eat only locally-sourced food for 30 days, I got really excited. Why? Because I myself have been trying to do the same thing for the past two weeks. It all started with the taste of a locally-grown tomato from Tucson CSA and my fascination with Barbara Kingsolver’s stories in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.
The past three Sunday mornings have been spent at the Rillito Heirloom Farmer’s Market, chatting with farmers, never buying enough tomatoes, and hoping that the produce I choose will complement the weekly CSA harvest that I pick up on Tuesday afternoon. And while I haven’t been quite as dedicated as Kate (my salt is still originating from the Himalayas), my results have been so rewarding. Dinners are overwhelmingly flavorful, the Fiore Di Capra goat cheese in my fridge is always calling my name, and I no longer have to stop at the grocery store four times a week.
This week’s recipe ingredients (save for the parmesan cheese) are all local. The beautiful, bright red bell peppers are from Sunday’s farmer’s market and the tender, deep purple eggplant is from Tucson CSA. Although I did make my own tomato sauce for this recipe, Whole Foods sells several different local tomato sauces. Lastly, the olive oil and kalamata olives come from Queen Creek Olive Mill, which has a store that is conveniently (and dangerously) next door to where I work. Along with a huge variety of olive oils, vinegar, and olives, the store carries other local goods such as flour, pasta, and spice blends. Eating local foods tastes great and makes you feel great about supporting your community. Whether you stop by the farmer’s market for a few peaches or to fill your fridge, you’re making a difference in your health and in your society.
Shelby Thompson is a recent graduate of the University of Arizona. When she isn’t working her day job, Shelby can be found practicing in the yoga studio, playing ball with her black lab Cola, and cooking in the kitchen. Her blog, thesunandthespoon.com, aims to provide nutritious, plant-based recipes for fellow food lovers. She greatly enjoys the wide array of local food and talent in Tucson.