Sunday, June 28, 2009

The 100 Mile Diet



On July 1, 2009 my son and I are going to embark upon a dietary program that is going to be a challenge. We're only going to eat food that's grown within 100 miles of where we live. Those lobster traps sitting on a wharf (image above) in Bass Harbor, Maine, won't be of any use to us, though I'm hoping to find lobster closer to home.

I don't normally eat lobster, and it's not because I don't like. I just find that it's too expensive...and too time and energy consuming to extract it. By the time that I'm done getting the meat out, I'm hungry again. It's like spending one unit of energy to extract one unit of energy. The production of many bio fuels is like this, so don't look to ethanol as a renewable energy source that will become the saviour of the planet, its production isn't efficient enough to be considered a solution. I'd hate to see our farmers growing crops (in July) for car fuel, and not human fuel...at least within 100 miles of where I live. The idea is not to drive somewhere distant to buy food.

I'll be eating a lot of seafood during the month of July, if it comes from the Bay of Fundy. I don't even know what's fished in the bay these days. I know salmon are farmed, but what can I buy that swims, or crawls, within 100 miles of my home? Surely lobster, maybe scallops, possibly right whale. I find that right whale burns on the bbq if you leave too much blubber next to the flesh. You never see the Inuit barbequing whale so, like them, I chew it raw.

My land based diet will be easier to acquire. We have local farmers growing fruits and vegetables. I'm going to become Raymond Young's best customer. Raymond and family are the one of two full-time farmers within 10 miles of my home, and their strawberries are in full production at the moment. If I manage to survive July without getting scurvy, then it's Raymond Young that I have to thank.

Sadly, I can't enjoy a strawberry daiquiri in July because rum isn't made locally...and Jemseg moonshine doesn't make a suitable substitute. I can't quaff a beer after mowing the lawn because hops aren't grown locally. I can watch the sun set as I enjoy a glass of wine, but only if it's comes from Motts Landing Vineyard. Looks like I'll be washing down my butter dipped lobster with rhubarb wine. I could always drink milk from Sussex, I suppose, but lobster and milk just don't seem like good bedfellows (chowder needs cream, not 2% moo juice).

I'll be able to get meat from local suppliers but I'll be challenged to cook it. I can't use olive oil since, last time I checked, there weren't any olive groves within 100 miles of my home. I'm not sure if I'll be able to marinate the meat either, since many marinades contain ingredients from afar. I'm hoping that Howard and Marilyn Erb, of H.Erb's Herbs fame, will come to my rescue. They can add flavour to any conversation or culinary situation.

I'm not a big fan of eggs, but I'm going to learn to love them. I'll have to fry them in butter, which should help. I won't be having pancakes for breakfast, since no one grows wheat flour within 100 miles of here...not as far as I know. Maybe I could convince the prairie boy to grow some, unless he's too busy boating in his pond.

I'll have maple syrup because it's made just down the lake on the McCrea's farm, but where will I put it...on my potatoes? I'll have honey from Gagetown but again, how will I use it? Not on toast.

I expect that I'll be eating potatoes, lettuce and lobster every day. Not sure what I'll have for lunch or supper. Wendy is going to be away for the first half of July, in Newfoundland. We debated about her participation in the 100 mile diet. It would be hard to subside on capelin and bake apples while travelling throughout the Rock. She could also eat cod, if there were any to be found. We've decided that she'll start the diet upon her return to Cambridge-Narrows, until then she'll be munching on the many Newfie delicacies like corn-flake encrusted Tasty Tater casserole, seal flipper pie and Purity biscuits. Purity biscuits are delicious and versatile, especially if you need something to toss in the burlap sack when you're drowning kittens.

One of the purposes of the 100 mile diet is to cut down on the unnecessary transportation of Antarctic bananas. In the long-term it's neither sustainable nor responsible, so we'd best start to look at the food supply closer to home. Now is a great time to start.

Ideally, we'll all have our own gardens. My son has started a garden with the help of our Erbaceous friends. Much of what we'll be eating in July and August will be grown by our son, within a mile of our home. It seems fitting that we've fed him for seventeen years, and now he should feed us. Next year I'll broach the subject of an allowance with him. I'm not looking for much...perhaps $20 per week for starters. Lobster ain't cheap!

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