EATING LOCAL – Cindy’s Pantry

Cindy Egan, Sustainable Danville Area Board Member enjoys a special locavore dinner at Chow Danville with husband, John.

Local Options for Canned and Jarred Food

Buying local food for your table is more important than ever.  According to Linda Riebel, a local environmental author, on average, our food travels 1500 miles.  Those miles require fuel for the trucks and chemicals to keep the food cold.  In addition, many of the companies that supply our food are national or multi-national which is why many small family farms or food businesses are going out of business.  Not only does buying locally reduce our dependence on foreign fuel, it reduces our carbon footprint and it supports local businesses.

Local Eating on Thames, England - Courtesy of Anne Jette-Oxenburgh

When someone talks about being a locavore, most folks think of growing your own vegetables or buying fruit and vegetables from a local vendor at the farmers’ market.  These actions are great steps at eating locally but you can buy and eat local products that are pre-prepared in cans or are in jars.

I began looking for locally canned or bottled products about a year ago and have been pleasantly surprised out how many options are available.  When you first start it takes time, but once you know the suppliers then it becomes much easier.  To help you find local sources that are also organic, I am highlighting four companies that are within 100 miles of Danville and whose products I love.

Amy’s, located in Petaluma, has soups, pasta sauces, salsas and over 88 frozen food options.  All of their products are organic and the vegetables used to prepare the products are all from local sources.  I have had many of their soups and salsas which are delicious.  I have not tried their frozen food products but only because I tend not to cook with frozen entrées.

For pasta sauces, Dave’s Gourmet located in San Francisco is a great choice.  In addition to his six pasta sauces, he makes hot and savory sauces, drink mixes and snacks.  We love his spicy heirloom marinara which we use for lasagna and eggplant parmesan.  Many of his products including the marinara sauce are organic.

If you love Mexican food, then try Wild Wife Gourmet Foods located here in Danville.  Wild Wife has two types of Mexican sauces, chile Colorado and chile verde.  We use the chile verde for enchiladas verde.  She also has a line of olive oils and balsamic vinegar.  Wild Wife Gourmet products are not organic.

Last, if you are looking for eggs, Emma’s Eggs are a great option.  She has 40 hens in Alamo and would love to sell you a dozen eggs.  To contact her, email her at emmaseggs@live.com.

Unfortunately, many products including grains, canned vegetables, and cereals are not available locally.  In that case, I try to buy products that come the shortest distance possible.  There are many options from Oregon and Washington State.  While this doesn’t meet my criteria for 100 miles, the products are organic, good quality and travel a significantly shorter distance than the East Coast.

With some effort, you can find local options for many of the foods you use in the kitchen including items that come in jars and cans.  If you can’t find an item within the local area, then consider products that come from the west coast.  Hopefully, taking these steps, we can cut down the distance our food travels, reduce our carbon footprints and help local businesses.

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