Tomorrow I can eat whatever I want. That's a bit of a novel concept at this point. I've become used to my all local diet, and as I expected, it became easier as time went on. That's not to say that I'm not looking forward to a bit of chocolate and maybe a small cup of coffee in the morning.... what a treat it will be!
So what did I learn from this challenge? This has been one of the best years yet for my own garden produce, and the first summer that I've had an abundance of home-laid eggs. It's been very satisfying to be able to provide so much for myself, and it's been a joy to garden in close proximity to my closest family members.
Not surprisingly, cheese has played a bigger role in my Wisconsin challenge than it did in my California challenge three years ago. I've discovered many fine Wisconsin cheeses that I might not have tried if I wasn't confined to 100% local: Capri Creamery, Carr Valley, Hidden Springs, Shepherd's Ridge, Blue Mont Dairy, Widmer's... there are so many amazing Wisconsin cheeses, and I'm ashamed to say that I hadn't adequately tried them all until this month. I'm glad I did!
Looking back over the past thirty-two days, I'm amazed to remember just how easy it's been. There have been moments, of course, that I wished I could eat non-local food, and there have been a few cheats, but overall it's been an easy, delicious month. The rest of my life has been stressful to be sure, and I found rather than stress me out even more, this challenge actually helped me relax. Cooking is a stress-relieving endeavor for me, and working with a limited palate is not a hardship when that palate is filled with so many delicious local foods. The eat local challenge forced me to get into the kitchen even when I didn't think I had the energy or time, and the results without exception were awesome.
Endurance locavorism. I like that phrase. I feel like I've run a marathon of locavorism, and I'm coming out the other side with a new sense of self reliance, personal accomplishment, and love of place.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again - I love Wisconsin! I love hickory nuts and sunflower oil, and eggs laid by my own chickens, and artisan cheeses, and fatty pastured pork, and grassfed beef, and homegrown tomatoes and green beans and potatoes and basil and onions and zucchini, and venison harvested by my family, and freshly caught bluegill, and Washinton Island flax, and milk, and yogurt, and berries, and peppers, and freshly ground flour, and apples, and all of the other amazing foods I've eaten this month. I'm so grateful to live here and have the opportunity to subsist on these things.
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