The October Eat Local Challenge is about to start. I’m not doing the challenge officially this year but ever since starting to think about the origins of my food I’ve found myself choosing to select foods that are grown closer to me.

Yesterday I headed out to the farmer’s market. The main destination there (especially with Z in tow) is the fudge booth. She gets to pick either peanut butter or chocolate fudge. I want her to pick chocolate since I can eat the rest of the fudge when she goes home. Alas, this week she chose peanut butter which I can’t stand. Better for my thighs, I guess. Then we go to the homemade bread booth.

This is the time of year when the market is most interesting to me. There is a great variety of produce instead of the greens and zucchini only that you see earlier in the year. Yesterday I got a variety of peppers. One booth had damaged ones that had bad spots on one side. They are easy to cut out and then the rest of the pepper is good. Since they were damaged I got about 10 for a $1. The guy was just loading them into my bag until I said stop. They will be perfect to cut into strips for sauteing or for soups.

Then we headed out to a neighboring county on an errand. While we were there we stopped at a cheese factory. This company makes the cheese on site using milk from local, small scale, Amish dairies. The thing I really love though is the cheese buffet. The store is in a big room with counters around the outside walls. You get in line (this is a big tourist attraction) and move past each variety of cheese. At each type you can have a sample. There are so many cheeses that this can count as lunch. They also have some fudge samples thrown in so I ate some chocolate fudge to make up for the disappointment at the farmer’s market. We bought some baby swiss and some garden vegetable cheddar.

Later we went to an orchard to pick apples. That crossed off #100 on the 101 Things in 1001 Days list – Go to a Pick Your Own Fruit farm. It was sad to see hundreds of apples in each row laying on the ground. The wind storm here decimated the harvest. They are letting people pick but they don’t have enough to make cider this year.

This morning I harvested more cherry tomatoes from the never ending tomato plant. That plant is still flowering. I got four cups of tomatoes this morning and they are currently drying in the oven.

Even small steps like this help to reduce your dependency on foods shipped in from all over the world and they generally taste better too.