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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Monday, October 01, 2012

Frugal Kitchens 101 - The 100 Mile Challenge

Frugal Kitchens 101
Eating locally is one way to save on food dollars while getting healthier, more nutritious foods and  stimulating the local economy.  The 100 Mile Challenge was a Canadian reality television series that aired on Food Network Canada.  It followed the eating habits of six Canadian families living in Mission, British Columbia for 100 days who agreed to only consume food and drink that was grown, raised and produced within a 100 mile (160 km) radius of their home.  I watched the series for awhile.  Some of the participants found the change difficult yet others embraced the lifestyle change.  Mission, BC is located on the north bank of the Fraser River, and along with the City of Abbotsford is part of the Central Fraser Valley, home to dairy farms, vineyards,  and wonderful agriculture production.  The final result was eating local require more time and planning as well as being more expensive but they had experienced positive health changes like weight loss and increased energy.

We live in beautiful southwestern Ontario, home to some of the finest produce, local grower and producers.  Most of the foods we consume are grown, raised or produced within a 100 mile (160 km) radius of our home.  This has been the norm for us well before The 100 Mile Challenge aired on April 5 of 2009.  In fact, eating locally has been the norm since early childhood days.  Even when traveling, we tend to choose local foods from that area.  In addition to Ontario grown, raised or produced foods we use Ontario produce hydro and natural gas to cook that food.  I'm still using mason jars to put up our preserved foods that were produced at glass factories in Ontario within 100 miles of our home.  There are also a few food processing plants within 100 miles of our house so we can easily buy locally produced, commercially canned foods using local produce if we desire. 

We can buy the following all grown, raised or produced within a 100 mile (160 km) radius of our home:

  • dairy - This includes Ontario milk, cheeses made with Ontario milk, eggs, butter, sour cream, yogurt; there are several cheese factories that will deliver to your door using overnight delivery
  • produce - a wide range of fruits and vegetables including a few Ontario seed catalogues and local nurseries to get the seeds to grow your own; the are a multitude of orchards, roadside stands and farmer's markets all featuring produce grown within 100 mile; fresh locally grown within a 100 mile radius produce is available year round, even cranberries are grown within 100 miles of our home
  • commercially produced foods using Ontario produce - the list is extensive including a wide range of tomato products, a wide range of cucumber products, a wide range of canned vegetable products, commercially canned soups using produce grown within 100 miles of our home
  • Ontario grains - soybean, hard and soft wheat, corn are all grown locally
  • wild rice - grown within just a few miles of our home
  • mushroom farms - there are three mushroom farms within a 40 mile radius of our home
  • herbs - a wide range of fresh, locally grown herbs including a few Ontario seed catalogues to get the seeds to grow your own
  • meats - beef, lamb, mutton, rabbit, moose, elk, venison, pork
  • poultry - chicken, turkey, goose, duck, emu, wild waterfowl, duck eggs
  • fish - local fresh fish (bass, pickerel, perch) is readily available in local waters and the shores of the Great Lakes bordering Ontario have a multitude of fisheries specializing in local fish
  • salt - The largest Canadian salt mine is in Amherstberg, Ontario within 100 mile radius of our home.
  • sugar and sweeteners - Sugar beets are grown and processed into sugar within a 100 mile radius of our home.  Local honey and maple syrup are produced within a couple of miles of our home.
  • miscellaneous - locally grown ethnic foods (Chinese, South Asian, Middle Eastern, and African foods are available locally just within the 100 mile radius of our home
  • alcoholic beverages - wines from Ontario vineyards in the Niagara region and along the shores of Lake Erie, beer (Sleemans in Guelph, Ontario) and other Ontario micro-breweries, whiskey (Hiram-Walker in Windsor, Ontario)
What isn't grown locally is imported.  This includes: black pepper, tea, coffee, citrus fruit, tropic fruit and spices.  Although Canada does not grow coffee, several firms import the raw materials for processing.  This is not within the ideals of The 100 Mile Challenge which really seeks to avoid imported foods.  Tea and coffee can easily be replaced with locally grown herbal teas.  Imported spices can be eliminated or greatly reduced. We don't follow a strict eating within a 100 Mile radius of our home because we do enjoy the aforementioned food items.  However, those foods make up less than 5% of our foods consumed so we aren't doing too bad!

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