Ben and I first took Kanu Hawai’i‘s annual Eat Local Challenge last year. It happened shortly after my learning about how scarcely we eat locally here in Hawai’i (only about 15%!) and a few months before our big hurricane scare. The connection? I was reminded of just how vulnerable our food supply is here. The television announcers kept reiterating that–if our freights and barges were to be interrupted–the people of Hawai’i would only have food for about 14 days. Holy shmoly. Add that to the fact that we’re choosing to support economy elsewhere AND that locally grown products taste better–and are much fresher! If those aren’t good enough reasons to either grow your own or support local growers, I don’t know what is.
So, what is the Eat Local Challenge?
Challenge yourself to eat all locally-grown food for the week of Sep 26 to Oct 2. [Throughout the week] you’ll get offers from dozens of restaurants and markets with specials on local items all next week. Worried you can’t go 100% local? The point is to try to get as close as possible – commit to the challenge and to share what you learn by posting something in the campaign journal.
Last year I remember starting off strong and thinking that I could do 100% local without a problem until we started to realize that–although there are quite a few bread makers in Hawai’i–we don’t grow grains here. So then the question became: “what is local?” Can we count things that are made here but were originally shipped over from abroad? If not, you can cross off bread, oats, quinoa, rice, and most corn products (tortillas and the like). Ben and I decided that, for our sanity, we’d include those products which are made here but might have roots elsewhere (i.e. Fresh Tortillas of Maui) because essentially we are still supporting our economy.
Okay, so by the end of day one last year Ben and I had only eaten stir fry (without sauce or rice). But by the middle of the week we were beginning to get into a little rhythm. Then we decided that it was okay to eat brown rice… and by the end of the week, we were eating probably about 50% local (which is still great, everything considered). We learned a lot through that experience and have made a conscious effort to support local.
This year, we’re going for it again! But we’ve started the challenge with one main thought in mind: We don’t need to be so rigid. We’re aiming for about 50-75% local this time (for sanity and nutrition purposes). The main purpose of this challenge is to recognize just how much we unnecessarily depend on outside sources for nutrition here in Hawai’i.
So, if you haven’t signed up for the challenge yet but still want to join, it’s never too late! I give you permission to start tomorrow and end a week from then 😉 The best way to solidify something for yourself is to link it to an experience. Now’s the time–Educate yourself!
All that said, let’s get down to the recipes! To kick off the Eat Local Challenge, Ben and I started our Sunday with a “Haley Moco”. The traditional local style “loco moco” consists of two scoops white rice, at least one hamburger patty, fried egg and brown gravy (also known as the heart attack on a plate). But it is so good! If only typical local food wasn’t so good in that fatty, salty, meaty sort of way… maybe more of our local population wouldn’t be suffering from such medical conditions.
To make the “Haley Moco” I substituted the mound of white rice for brown fried rice (to add some veggies as well as lessen the amount of rice), and took away the meat and gravy altogether. If you fry an egg you can use the yolk as a bit of your “gravy” 🙂
[Ingredients] serves 6
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil [not local]
- 2 cloves garlic [not local]
- 1 medium onion [local]
- 1 medium carrot, diced [local]
- 1/2 bell pepper [local]
- 1 c broccoli, chopped [local]
- 1 c corn [not local]
- 2 full eggs + 3 egg whites beaten[local]
- ~2 1/2 c left over refrigerated cooked brown rice [not local]
- Aloha shoyu to taste [semi-local]
- Pepper to taste [not local]
[+ 1 egg to top each serving [local]]
[To make fried rice:]
Heat olive oil in deep pan on medium heat.
Add onions and carrots until translucent, then garlic.
Add the rest of the veggies until desired tenderness.
Create a big puka (hole) in the middle and pour in the egg/eggwhite mixture.
When the eggs are cooked, stir in the brown rice.
Season with shoyu and fresh ground pepper.
Fry an egg in sprayed olive oil [definitely not local] and place it atop the fried rice.
Enjoy! Makes 6 servings (enough for the ‘ohana or for leftovers!)
Nutrition Facts [one serving including egg on top]
Calories 247 • Fat 10g • Sodium 160mg (using 1 tsp low sodium Shoyu) • Carbs 26g • Fiber 3.5g • Sugar 2g • Protein 14g
Non-Local Ingredients : 5/11 [45%] Local Ingredients : 6/11 [55%] Most main ingredients were local, but it’s harder than it would seem, right? 😉
And on to lunch! To showcase all the incredible produce of Maui!:
Summer (Or Is It Already Fall?) Salad
- 4 c fresh organic baby spinach [local]
- 1 c fresh Kula strawberries [local]
- 1/2 an avocado [local]
- 2 oz. Surfing Goat Dairy chevre [local]
[~2 Tbsp unsalted sunflower seeds to top [not local]]
- 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar [not local]
- 1 Tbsp olive oil [not local]
- 1 tsp dijon mustard [not local]
- 1 tsp maple syrup [not local]
Whisk dressing together, and, well… you should know how to make a salad 😉
Enjoy! Serves 2.
So, is it 100% local? No. But if you look at this salad, everything major you see is local! And not only is it delicious, it’s fresh! The colors of local fruits and veggies are brighter and more vibrant than of those that ripen while on their week-long boat/plane trip over the Pacific. Like I said, the whole point of this is to become more aware.
I’ll be posting more recipes as the week goes on (I’ve still got that phenomenal Okinawan sweet potato recipe to post!). Happy [local] eating!