The folks formerly known as the Southern Region in previous Dark Days Eat Local Challenges are keeping the challenge going this year! AnnieRie Unplugged has a post up about it.
Generally in these challenges, you prepare one local meal per week and post about it on your blog, citing your food sources. Usually, participants declare their “exceptions” at the outset, for example spices, sugar and other things that don’t grow in their region.
While it’s no longer a challenge for me to eat locally (daily, even), I think it’s fabulous that people are keeping the challenge going to show the folks just starting out that it can be done and how.
The secret to a successful Dark Days Challenge is putting by (preserving foods) in season. (Okay, that’s not really a secret—our forebears did it for generations!) Meat and dairy are generally available through the winter and ingredients like herbs, garlic, onions, and tomatoes go a long way for soups, stews, pot roasts, and many other winter dishes. When that summer CSA is inundating you with greens and other veggies, cook them up and freeze them. There’s nothing like buttered corn in the middle of January to make you feel summery all over again!
Still, if you didn’t plan in advance (like I didn’t my first year, since it just sort of came up), you may be surprised at all of the foods you can find in your local foodshed and just how resourceful you really are.
Good luck to all the challenge-takers!