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Event asks Columbia residents to eat local

Friday, September 21, 2007 | 3:00 p.m. CDT; updated 1:43 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

Can you go a week without Coca-Cola? Trade your Lay’s potato chips for Backers? Pass over the imported grapes in the grocery store? If so, consider signing up for the Columbia Localvore Challenge. This week, Columbians hungry for a change of pace will challenge themselves to buy, prepare and eat only Missouri-grown foods.

If you go local

What: Columbia Localvore Challenge, a one-week effort to eat only locally produced food When: Sept. 22-29 Cost: Free; participants are only asked to help coordinators track participation by filling out a form online. Additional information may be sent to registrants through e-mail. To register online, go to the Web site. Guidelines: As much as possible, any local meal should be made with locally grown ingredients or food items made by local businesses. Imported spices and cooking oil are allowed since they are not produced locally. Meals can also be purchased at area restaurants that use local ingredients. While the challenge focuses on meals, participants are encouraged to include locally produced drinks, snacks and other food items in their daily diets.

Where local products are available

Boone County Farmers Market, Sanford-Kimpton Health Department Building, 1005 W. Worley St., Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon and Monday and Wednesday from 4 to 6 p.m. (through Sept. 26) Columbia Farmers’ Market, West Ash Street and Clinkscales Road, behind the Activities and Recreation Center, Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon and Monday and Wednesday from 4 to 6 p.m. The Root Cellar, 814 E. Broadway, 443-5055, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, closed Sunday Clovers Natural Market, 2100 Chapel Plaza Court, 445-0990 and 2012 E. Broadway, 449-1650, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. Sunday Hy-Vee, 3100 W. Broadway 447-0133, open 24 hours a day Schnucks, 1400 Forum Blvd., 446-2800, 6 a.m. to midnight daily A full list of local products is available on the challenge’s , Web site.

Where local products are on the menu

Addison’s, 709 Cherry St. 256-1995 Main Squeeze Natural Foods Cafe, 28 S. Ninth St., 817-5616 Sophia’s, 3915 S. Providence Road, 874-8009 Sycamore, 800 E. Broadway, 874-8090 Uprise Bakery, 816 E. Broadway, 256-2265 Wine Cellar & Bistro, 505 Cherry St., 442-7281 Additional information provided by the Columbia Localvore Challenge

Recipes

Baked Eggplant With Tomato and Cheese

Salt 1-½ pound eggplant, thickly sliced 1 clove garlic, crushed Olive oil 1 pound ripe tomatoes, peeled & chopped 1 teaspoon sugar Pepper ¼ cup chopped or torn basil leaves 1-½ pound fresh mozzarella, sliced 5 tablespoons grated Walloon cheese from Goatsbeard Farm Salt the eggplant slices and let sit for 30 min. to let the juices run out. Saute the garlic in 2 tablespoons olive oil until the aroma rises. Add the tomatoes, sugar, a little salt and pepper and the basil. Cook vigorously to reduce to a thick sauce. Rinse and drain the eggplant slices. Dry them and brush both sides with olive oil. Place slices on a baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. They should be cooked through but not mushy. Arrange the cooked eggplant in a baking dish, cover with the tomato sauce, sprinkle with basil and top with cheese. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Tomato sauce & pasta

4-6 tomatoes (this recipe relies heavily on the taste of the tomatoes, so use heirlooms if possible) 1-2 cloves of garlic 1 bunch basil 1-2 teaspoons sugar 1 teaspoon salt 1 package fresh pasta Chop the tomatoes and squeeze out as much juice as possible, reserving for other uses. Briefly saute the garlic in oil before adding tomatoes. Cook on medium heat for 10-15 minutes or until sauce reaches desired thickness. Add basil, and sugar and salt to taste. Cook pasta, top with sauce and serve with grated Walloon cheese from Goatsbeard Farm. This recipe can easily be doubled, tripled or more to make a large batch for leftovers that can be frozen for later. All amounts are rough and can be adjusted to match your taste as the sauce cooks. Recipes courtesy of the Columbia Localvore Challenge Web site, Web site.


Consumers

Patrick Parnell, 29

Day Job: Study Abroad advisor, MU

Home: Columbia

Why he eats local: Without hesitation, Parnell says taste. “Tell anybody that I’ll compete with them one-on-one with any produce — it’s going to taste better.”

He also believes the environmental impact is important. “We waste so much stuff,” he says. “So much stuff we bring in comes from so far away.”

Food history: Parnell cites traveling and living in Latin America and Europe for his interest in local products. “I traveled a lot and get a sense of how other societies function on regional basis,” he says. “I got used to eating from local vendors and markets.”

He says he’s been frequenting local markets for the past five years.

Favorite local product: Ciabatta bread from Uprise Bakery

Favorite dish: Parnell likes to make eggplant with chiles and garlic. “I love eggplant,” he says. “It’s not that difficult to find good recipes, especially with so many products this time of year — tomatoes, eggplants, zucchini — so many good things.”

Sacrifices: Oranges, avocados and other fruits not currently in season. “It’s really tough because they’re never grown here,” he says.

Challenges: Snack foods. “I just ate a granola bar, and unless I buy a homemade granola bar from Uprise [Bakery], things like that are going to be tough. I really like sweet stuff or snack stuff. I have jar of Nutella at home; that definitely doesn’t count.”

Advice to potential localvores: “Expand your horizons and look locally. Just do it at the absolute minimum. It’s fun and something new and different. Everybody has to eat.”

David Kottman, 50, and Sandi Kottman, 43; children Benjamin, 17, and Kassandra, 14

Day jobs: David is a self-employed farmer at Roanoke Farm, Ltd. Sandi is a nurse reviewer at Truman Memorial Veterans Hospital

Food history: Sandi says she was raised eating mostly local produce.

“We always set up the table and ate at home,” she says. “The change was more about my shopping than my cooking.”

Sandi said she became more conscious of her shopping habits five or six years ago when she heard about the Slow Food movement, which promotes environmentally-conscious food production and fair compensation for food producers. The Kottmans have applied the local concept of slow food to other purchases, including a car, violin and satellite TV service.

Favorite local products: The Kottmans couldn’t pick just one. Sandi says she loves the fresh fruit and vegetables, but Kassandra gets upset if they don’t get cheese from Goatsbeard Farm. “And honey and honey ice cream,” she says.

Favorite dish: Sweet corn on the cob. “We microwave it for two minutes, and it tastes better than boiling or another way,” Sandi says.

“Cut the top where the silk comes out and at the bottom, and the husk holds the moisture in. You don’t need to use any dishes; it’s so easy.”

Challenges: Giving up junk food and shopping at large chain stores. “The kids have withdrawal every once in a while and have to have junk food,” she says. “We all have that; we’re not saints.” She says it’s hard to resist running to Wal-Mart for its convenience. “We have to stop and say, ‘We don’t really need that.’ It’s hard to convince kids to eat corn with the super duper juicy junk they’re marketing on the shelves.”

Why eat local: The Kottmans sell produce at the market, and Sandi says she prefers to buy from her neighbors and friends.

“We know where our money went, and that makes us feel better, too.” Sandi says she likes to discover products made in Missouri.

“It makes you feel better than pulling something off the shelf.”

Advice to potential localvores: “It’s not easy, that’s for sure, but you have to be conscientious and decide if it’s an important thing for your family. It’s not impossible at all. It depends if you want to cook, be at home around the table with the family and how much you enjoy of that in your lifestyle.

Producers

Kenny Duzan, 59

Day job: Environmental specialist, Missouri Department of Natural Resources

Home: 10-acre family farm northeast of Columbia, 3.5 acres used for growing produce

Staff: Duzan, his wife, Becky, and a team of six high school and college students

Time from farm to market: 11.5 miles, about 20 minutes

Sells: Spinach, lettuce, onion, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, cucumbers, peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini, cantaloupe, turnips and radishes

Where: Columbia Farmers Market, Schnucks and The Root Cellar in Columbia, Schnucks in Jefferson City. Duzan says he tries to model his prices after those in supermarkets. However, if he has something he thinks is superior, he charges a premium.

Best seller: Spinach. Duzan sells his own brand, World’s Best. He says people “beg for it all year long.”

Time farming: From 1981 to 1987, Duzan tried produce farming. He says it was “successful,” but he “couldn’t make a living out of it.” He returned to farming during the summer of 2001 at his present farm. “My goal is to supply a lot of food — quality food — to the community,” he says.

Inspiration: “I wanted to do this since I was a little kid. My grandmother and I used to raise radishes. I was the only kid I knew who was 13 and had a big garden.”

He turned the ground again to help support his son’s college education.

“I like to think of my garden as a 3.5-acre solar collector. My plants collect the energy from the sun, and I sell that energy to the people of Columbia. Since I was a little kid, I have dreamed of innovative ways I could do this — and now I am doing just that.”

Market highlight: “I’m gregarious — I enjoy the fact that I know so many people. Without the market, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet so many people. I like selling produce to people and seeing their eyes light up.

About eating local: “I think it’s important to employ local people. It keeps money in the area, saves fuel. I think someday people will be forced to eat local stuff when fuel becomes so expensive.”

Ken Muno, 39, and Jen Muno, 37

Day job: Full-time farmers, cheesemakers and marketers

Home: Goatsbeard Farm, 80 acres southwest of Harrisburg; about 20 acres are set aside for a herd of 50 goats

Staff: Jen’s mother, Martha Folk, and four employees

Time from farm to Columbia Farmers’ Market: 18.8 miles, about 28 minutes

Sells: Goat cheese in tubs and rounds, marinated cheese rounds, feta, soft-ripened cheese and raw milk cheese.

Where: Columbia Farmers Market, Clovers Natural Market, Hy-Vee, Root Cellar, Wine Cellar & Bistro, Sycamore Restaurant, Uprise Bakery and Main Squeeze Natural Foods Cafe, all in Columbia; Smokehouse Market, Whole Foods Market, Local Harvest and the Maplewood Farmers Market in the St. Louis area.

Most popular product: Plain fresh goat cheese in a 5-ounce tub

Time farming: In 1994, Ken moved to Massachusetts to learn how to make cheese at Westfield Farm. He met his wife, Jen, at Zingerman’s Deli in Ann Arbor, Mich. “We both wanted to have a farm and we were really interested in cheeses,” he says.

Inspiration: Cheese drove him into the business, he says. “It’s really a crossroads between a love for cheese and a love for farming and nature.”

Market highlight: Ken says he enjoys the market for the people and the shopping. “This is my social time,” he says. Despite the steady flow of customers, he often takes time to talk to people about his cheeses.

About eating local: “It may not be the most convenient (way to shop), but there’s a whole other value to being in an environment among farmers. It’s part of what sustains the local economy. I work with local equipment, suppliers, contractors — any money that comes to me goes to another local business.”


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