Why did you decide to be involved in the Eat Local Challenge?
I wanted to challenge myself to learn more about the Colorado food shed. I am grateful to call Colorado my home but want to become more familiar with the local growers, producers and farmers. I see the Eat Local Challenge as a way to learn more about the tasty food and agriculture in this great state.
How does local food play a central role in your life?
When I learn about a certain product created here in Colorado, I want to hear that company’s story. Local food, when produced in a slow, sustainable manner, is a powerful catalyst to spark thoughtful conversations about how food plays a role in our lives and connects us with our neighbors.
Who inspired you to become a supporter of local food?
Mookie, my grandma, inspired me to cherish and love food, especially food grown right around the corner. During the harvest, she preserved and pickled all types of vegetables she grew on her farm. I loved the smell of the ripe tomatoes, the heat of the boiling water, and the pop of the lids as they sealed themselves until winter arrived. Every fall, I still craved her special applesauce made fresh from the apples she picked up from the farm stand down the road. Yes, she was an amazing cook, but it was her green thumb that produced such delectable goodies in the dead of winter.
Which local product can you not live without?
Pear (Not Apple) Sauce by MM Colorado
What is the one non-local product that is/was the hardest for you to give up?
How do you build community around food?
Similar to many, I love to make food for others. More specifically, I love to connect with friends, family and coworkers through making ice cream and sorbet for them. To me, there is nothing like creating a tasty, cool treat filled with love and unique ingredients for my friends. During the summer, I especially enjoy creating ice cream since there is a plethora of fresh, local ingredients available. These fresh ingredients always bring the ice cream to the next level. To me, ice cream really highlights the individual flavors of the ingredients. If you use high-quality, local products, you can taste it. Once people taste the difference, they want to know the ingredients used, and that begins a thoughtful dialogue about where our food originates.
What tips do you have for incorporating local food habits into one’s daily lifestyle?
I would say be open-minded when perusing the aisles at a grocery store or booths at a farmers’ market. If you encounter a vendor, talk to them! Vendors love to tell you their product’s story, and their excitement will pervade in to your eating and shopping habits.
Also, an adventurous spirit will lead to awesome discoveries that will become staples in your daily diet. Since it can be tempting to fill your basket with tons of local, unique goodies, I treat myself to one, new product or produce—especially one that is on sale—per week. That way you can test out local products without breaking the bank.