More than 300 people nationwide have signed up for the annual Eat Local Challenge this year. This is my fourth year taking (and leading) the challenge and it's a way of life for me now. Taking the challenge means that I step up my visits to farmers markets during the month-long project, and am more diligent in knowing where my food comes from. In San Francisco, October is a good time to eat local, as there is an abundance of fruits and vegetables in the market.
The true overlap of seasons seems to be in October this year, and walking through the market I saw peaches next to persimmons, and winter squash next to summer squash. Tomatoes should still be around for a few more weeks, but I finished my canning for the winter already.
As was mentioned here in August, we have an exciting new addition to the Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market: local wheat that can be purchased whole or ground into flour on site. Nigel Walker, the farmer of Eatwell Farm, initially started growing the wheat for his chickens. He wasn't comfortable with the source of his chicken feed and set out to grow it himself. He began bringing the surplus to the market, and many shoppers are excited to have local wheat.
Walker is bringing a small hand mill to the market which shoppers can use to grind their own flour. "We buy freshly roasted coffee every week, why not grind fresh flour weekly as well?" Walker asks. The hand mill is a bit labor intensive, and it takes quite a while to grind a pound. You can also purchase pre-ground wheat flour from the farm booth.
For those bakers out there: Walker had the protein content of the wheat tested, and it is 12.5%. This is the first product in a new era of Eatwell Farm—they will be growing other grains in upcoming seasons.
Seasonal Produce Guide
In season right this minute
Winter squash in abundance
It's Time To Put Up
Last weeks to can tomatoes!
About the author: Jennifer Maiser writes about locally and sustainably grown food. She is the founder and editor of the Eat Local Challenge website and writes at Life Begins at 30, her personal weblog.