• Cupcake Smash 2014

    This will be my third year participating in the Philabundance Cupcake Smash but the first time I will be entring as Hundred Mile Table instead of Sundry Mornings. I have been working on my cupcake for the past couple weeks and in the spirit of my Hundred Mile Challenge I will be sourcing as much of the product from local farms and producers as possible. 

    Keep checking the Philabundance website to see when the tickets go on sale and after the competition I will be posting my cupcake recipe here. I wish I could share it now but can't let the cat out of the bag just yet!

  • The Pantry

    The most important part of my kitchen is the pantry. I love cooking so much that I don't even have the space to accomidate all of the items and equipment that I have collected over the years. When thinking about doing this challenge I looked into my pantry and realized that basics items one needs for cooking are:

    • Salt: As stated before I choose to go with Dimond Crystal Kosher Salt for my kitchen because it is produced in Michigain, which out of the many brands I researched is the closest Kosher salt producer to Philadelphia. If you perfer to use Sea Salt then I would suggest using, Maine Sea Salt.
    • Pepper: Is not grown in the US but mainly in Asian countries. I buy my "exotic" spices from Mountain Rose Herbs because they created a program that it much like Fair Trade called Good Trade (read more about it here). They work directly with every farm that they buy their product from, that means that it is a direct sources which reduces the miles traveled between you and your spices.
    • Oil: Golden Barrel Company is located in Honey Brook, PA and they package all kinds of oil from Canola to Coconut. Their Canola oil is a product of the US. 
    • Flour: Daisy Organics is a flour company near Lancaster, PA and they carry all kinds of different flours and you can buy them in bulk at some stores like Kimberton Whole Foods or by the bag at places like Fair Foods at Reading Terminal.
    • Sugar: Again, Golden Barrel packages sugar including light and dark brown, refined, raw and syrups like molasses and corn.
    • Spices: I get these from Mountain Rose Herbs as well if I can't grow or dry them myself.

    Remember this is just a simple guide and will be updated as I find out more information on the items. It is about asking questions and understanding where products come from that's important.   

  • The Pledge

    I, Miranda Watson, pledge that starting April 1st, 2014, to start my Hundred Mile Challenge #HMC. This means that I will only purchase the fallowing items within 100 miles of City Hall, Philadelphia, PA:

    • All Meats (Cow, Pig, Chicken, Goat...)
    • All Dairy (Cow, Goat, Sheep...)
    • Eggs
    • Vegetables
    • Fruits
    • Greens
    • Grain (Whole & Milled)
    • Honey
    • Maple 

    I will only purchase the fallowing items produced within 100 miles of City Hall, Philadelphia, PA:

    • Coffee
    • Chocolate
    • Beer
    • Spirits
    • Wine (only those who have vineyards)

    All other items not in these categories will be purchased with total disclosure to the location in which they are purchased from, this will include:

    • fish (I will be purchasing fish that is from only 100 miles away but it will come from out of state)
    • salt
    • pepper
    • spices (those that can not be grown in Pennsylvania)
    • oil
    • cane sugar
    • legumes

    When eating out, I pledge to eat from places that are conscious of where their food comes from and their food is prepared from scratch.

    The goal of this challenge, for me, is to make sure that 90% of the food items in my home are locally sourced. Also I want to be aware of where food comes from, how it is grown/made and who grows/makes it especially if I can not purchase it locally.

    (other items not listed may be added over time)

  • Inspiration from, Lexicon of Sustainability

    I have derived a lot of inspiration for this project and my Hundred Mile Challenge from a project called, The Lexicon of Suitability. I saw the work of filmmaker and photographer Douglas Gayeton and producer Laura Howard-Gayeton at a gallery in Emmaus, PA a couple years ago. The show I saw was a collection from the project called, Food and Farming in America and the synopsis is:

     “By illuminating the vocabulary of sustainable agriculture, and with it the conversation about America’s rapidly evolving food culture, the Lexicon of Sustainability™ educates, engages and activates people to pay closer attention to how they eat, what they buy, and where their responsibility begins for creating a healthier, safer food system in America.”

    They use images to illustrate the words in which they feel are important to help one not only understand what it means to be sustainable but also participate as well. I will admit I was a bit confused to the web that helps create a sustainable life but after seeing that show and also watching the videos I not have a better understand which is going to be a tremendous help through this project.

    This is from their site

    Concepts like “Food Miles” and “Carbon Foot Prints” are designed to make people think about what they eat and where it comes from.  Becoming more connected with a local food system strenghtens a community.  It keeps money in a local economy and connects local food producers and consumers.  Food choices have  an impact not only on a community.  “Food Miles” offer consumers a straightforward way to see how their buying choices can contribute to climate change. - See more at: http://www.lexiconofsustainability.com/pop-up-art-shows/foodmiles/#sthash.hjKVhyT2.dpuf

    Also there are short films on PBS that guid you through some of the images created like the one centered around the tearm LOCAL.

  • Hundred Mile Challenge

    Beginning April 1st I will be participating in my own Hundred Mile Challenge that will include trying to eat and buy items that are grown and produced within one hundred miles of City Hall in Philadelphia, PA. I live in Boyertown, PA, which is 50 miles northeast of the city which means my reach would be bigger but in the spirit of things I will be staying within that hundred miles from Center City. Also, I will only be purchasing my items within the state of Pennsylvania (no disrespect to NJ or DE) to stay within the parameters of my thesis project.

    On this site there will be four sections; the blog, where to buy, know your farmer and know your producers. The Blog section is where you can fallow me on my journey to eating locally; this will also include recipes and tips on what to make with local flavor. Where to Buy, will have information on farmers markets, retailers and restaurants that carry local food. Know Your Farmer, will have bios and information on the farms around the area, also where you can find their product. Know Your Producer, is a section where you can get to know people who produce items that can not be grown locally, i.e. coffee, chocolate and beer.

    The reason for the producers section is because there are items that we use in our every day that would have to be given up entirely if one was to only buy and consume local items, this means you would have to give up salt, pepper, oil, certain spices and so on… Now my point of this project is not to eliminate everything you use on the day-to-day but instead I am doing this to make you ask; who makes this item, where do they make it and how is it made.

    So I did some research to find out where my salt comes from by first reading the label. The box of Morton Salt I have in my kitchen says, Product of Canada, so I looked up where in Canada they get their salt from. According to their, Our Locations area of the site their salt comes from all over the US, parts of Canada and a location in the Bahamas. So I went to check out another brand of salt that I use, Diamond Crystal Salt. On their packaging it says it is a product of the US but I wanted to know exactly where. I called the company and found out that their Kosher salt, which is the only variety of salt I use, is manufactured in Michigan using the evaporation method. Since it is the closest to Philadelphia I have decided to add it to my pantry. *Side Note: The company told me that they use different locations for the different variety of salts they produce. So if you use table salt, it might come from a different part of the country or even outside of it.*

    The who, where and how are going to be very important throughout this challenge when straying outside the hundred mile mark for other basic items. The pepper is a big one because it comes from a region that is not only outside of Philadelphia but even outside of the Americas all together. Pepper is grown and cultivated in Asia so here it is important to know where it comes from and how it is grown. I buy most of my herbs and spices that I cannot make myself from a wholesale natural food market online called Mountain Rose Herbs because they offer bulk (which reduces packaging) organic items which some are also fair trade. The company is located Eugene, OR which means that the money spent is not going into the local economy. The reason why I go through them instead of buying from a local bulk store is they deal directly with the farms that produce the items they sell, there’s no middle man and I know how many steps it took for that item to get to me from its place of origin.

    Trying to live this hundred mile life style is not going to be an easy one but I want to show people that it is possible even if you don’t live in Pennsylvania, with a bit of research there is always a way to try and find items that are locally grown, produced or help reduce the food miles from the farm to your table. It wouldn’t be called a challenge if it was easy.

  • Pennsylvania Farm Show, Jan. 11th, 2014

    Yesterday I went to the Pennsylvania Farm Show out in Harrisburg to see what it was all about and to learn a few new things about PA farming. I made it there just in time to catch a bit of the maple syrup demonstration. I learned that only 10% of all the maple syrup distributed comes from the United States as a whole and that is divided by ten states including Pennsylvania. Last year PA produced 134,000 gallons of syrup last year making up 4% of the total US production. Though there are no major production sites of maple syrup within a hundred miles of Philadelphia there are plenty of small farm producers to which you can purchase homemade maple syrup from.1


    Here are some more facts I learned:

    •  97% of PA farms are family owned
    • PA ranks 4th in apple production, 439 million pounds grown annually
    • 62% of US mushrooms are grown in the state of Pennsylvania, #1 in nation

    I made my rounds through the animals and it seemed that we showed up during the goats nap time. I was also disappointed to see that the pigs were no longer there.

     Just before leaving we went inside the butterfly tent. It was funny watching people pass through not having any clue how many butterflys had made them their friends.