My first week

Week one is over on my 100km challenge and so far I would say it has been a bit of a fail. It has been rather frustrating trying to find locally produced products at this point due to the climate in this area not seeming to produce much in the way of produce. Even trying to find locally produced meat is an effort. I am about to head off to the Saturday morning Riverside Farmers Market to get some vege for this week. It is frustrating that there is no fish monger, butcher or really any decent fromagerie there. Darn I miss the markets of Paris and Bristol. Our Bristol local market on a Wednesday morning had everything there including the butcher. Loved it!

Meanwhile I have also been doing our household carbon footprint and the result was quite good.

This was our result as below. What I have taken from this is that I need to get the kitchen waste into the compost more regularly, cut down on the use of the car and look at ways to try and insulate the flat a bit better (as much as we can for a rental unit. There is always more one can do to cut your footprint. Here is our household result. The address to do your own is at:

Today your Household Footprint is 9 times the size of your section.
Energy use: 1498 m2
Wateruse: 372 m2
Wastes: 1834 m2
Transport: 1607 m2

Total Footprint: 5311 m2

Your household footprint is relatively small by New Zealand standards, however we are all still using more resources than the planet can maintain so keep watching the series to find out ways to reduce your impact on the planet and save cash on your household bills.

First vege shop

Saturday is the day for the Riverside Markets in Taupo from 10am until 1pm. I dropped off Steve for work, went for a swim and then hit the markets with $100 in hand ready to buy my vege heart out.

My first obstacle on the 100km challenge was to browse through all the stalls and find out where the produce had come from. I was a bit disappointed in that there are no meat or cheese stall holders here as well. How is that possible? Surely we have great locally produced meats and cheeses available for sale direct from the producer?

I have made a list of what is in season at the moment in order to ensure our main meals are focused on seasonality. This means the following are all on the OK menu list:
Apples, broccoli, cabbage, capsicums, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumber (telegraph), garlic, kiwifruit, kumara, leeks, lettuce, limes, mandarins, mushrooms, onions, parsnip (gross!), potatoes, pumpkin, radishes, silver beet, spinach, spring onion, sprouted beans, squash, swedes, turnip and watercress.

What I didn’t count on was that even though the food at the stalls is “locally” produced my 100km radius was out the window. My first purchase was avocados for guacamole this week and some salads. These were from the Hawkes Bay. After having a chat to the stall holder I have come to realise that due to the low temparatures around Taupo it is not the greatest area for vegetable growing. Hot house produced products just don’t have the flavour and so I may have to relook at my radius or being more productive with what I can get. I will go for the latter option at this point until I can investigate every avenue first.

My second stall purchase was more successful. Free range eggs from Cackle Hill Farm, Taupo. Next were my carrots, watercress and broccoli from the Ohakune stall holder. Darn it, even they are 135km from Taupo so again outside my radius. Fail again.

Finally, I ended up on Rifle Range Road at Lake Taupo Fresh fruit and vegetable store. What I did like here was that for the most part all the produce had a sign provided to say where it had come from. Knowing the providence of an item is somewhat satisfying even if it was disappointing to find that the only thing really I could get from within my radius were the free range eggs already purchased directly from the producer.

It would seem that growing my own produce might be the way to go however there are 2 issues with this, well actually 3 issues – patience (which I have little of), green thumb (which I am trying to foster but wouldn’t bet my dinner plate on it), space (I rent so have to come up with a cost efficient and portable option).

From seeing my mum and dad grow their own produce another realisation is getting the right amount of product at the right time and picking the items you really want. It makes we wonder if there are other home growers out there with a need to swap produce. How cool would it be to have a network of local growers specialising in a particular item and then meeting to swap/barter or the like? Would it be viable? What if someone (mainly me) had a bad crop and wasn’t able to contribute. How do you ensure a particular standard of growing is met (a charter maybe?). Hmmm food (excuse the pun) for thought?

So now, I have a fridge full of “as near as I could get to being local” produce with the furthest item being from Blenheim. Who knew garlic was grown there? What meals can I create from this over the week and will I have better fortune next time in sourcing goods closer to home.

First challenge

I went into a butcher today in Taupo (one of 2 local butchers besides the supermarkets). I wanted to get some items for dinner over the next couple of days seeing as stores will be shut tomorrow for Good Friday.

Me to the butcher “Can you please tell me where did this pork come from?”
Butcher “From here”
Me “Sorry, I meant where was it raised?”
Butcher – with a look that clearly said this was the stupidest question he had heard all day “I don’t know, from all over NZ?”

Hmmmm, an interesting and possibly frustrating start to this challenge.

The 100km challenge

There are some things that I tend to hold important to me but I haven’t really invested time in ensuring that what I deem important is what I practice. Hence the 100km challenge.

While sitting on a bus up to Auckland this plan started to form. I LOVE my food but feel it’s important to know the providence of what I eat and ensure that what I choose to eat is good for me and can be eaten without concern as to how it got to me. Yes, I still eat crappy food but for the most part what I spend my money on shows and should support what I hold as being important to me.

What is important to me continues to grow from my time in the UK. This started with learning about and switching to a preference for supporting free range farmed chickens instead of incredibly cheap chicken that had been intensively farmed. Not only was the taste so much better but I could feel better about what my money was supporting. This now also continues to extend to where I choose to spend my money in other areas of my life.

Since moving back to NZ another concern that has become evident to me is our isolation from the rest of the world. With this comes the importing of goods that we possibly don’t need. Surely if we eat seasonally and source locally then we could not only eat more healthily but ensure that our food miles are less as well as support our local producers/economy. Hence the 100km challenge.

The core criteria are:
1. The majority of my weekly main meals must consist of seasonal elements and
2. Seasonal elements must be sourced within a 100 kilometer radius of Taupo

What I plan to do with my blog is to outline the issues, concerns and successes that I have trying to implement this challenge. Can I successfully stick to these 2 core criteria. It should be interesting especially trying to figure out what to make with changing seasonal elements. I tend to stick to the products I know as I know how to cook these! What the heck do I do with a swede?

Bring on the challenge.