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Andrea’s Eat Local Food Stamp Challenge: Day 6

(EDITOR’S NOTE: North Kohala resident Andrea Dean calls herself a SocioEcoPreneur who partners with communities, businesses and non-profits on initiatives that enhance the island environment, economy and community. She is involved with the North Kohala Eat Locally Grown Campaign and has challenged herself to eat only local foods on a food stamp budget for the month of September 2011.)

I am one of those people that I used to look down upon. The type of person who said “I used to be a vegetarian for 20 years, but now I eat meat.”

Every time I heard that statement I went into a mild shock. I just could not understand how anyone could sell out like that. Convert to the dark side. Didn’t they understand the environmental impacts? What about the spiritual consequences? Soooo lower chakra.

Today I had local steak and eggs for breakfast. By 9:30 a.m. I felt like I could rule the world.

During the last 6 months or so I have gleefully and guiltily sampled prosciutto, bacon, steak, pork and who knows what else. Some local, some not.

Today my meat education continued with me exploring the meat case at Takata’s Store in Hawi. I really don’t know the difference between a rump roast and a steak. But I know how to compare apples to apples, or in this case hamburger to hamburger – and the local meat was coming up roses.

Jerry Takata told me the local meat is less expensive in most cases, but he still carries the mainland beef because some people prefer the taste. The local beef is grass fed and has a certain smell and texture that is sometimes not preferred by people who are used to grain fed beef.

My friend asked me tonight, “Why would anyone buy non-local beef over local if the local is cheaper?”

Ah … well, besides the taste/texture preference issue, there is also the issue of availability. Here on Hawaii Island we have a lot of cows, but not a lot of places to slaughter them. The lack of slaughterhouse capacity keeps the quantity of local beef relatively low in the market.

Another friend reminded me that eating local, wild caught pig would be a better environmental choice than ranch raised cattle.

I ended up buying stew meat for $4.81/lb because I was having a friend over for dinner and I was nervous about making a meal that I could stretch.

When I got it home I realized I was completely clueless and a little bit nervous about cooking it. I don’t think I have cooked meat in at least 25 years.

In the end I decided to stick with what I knew, and I made the mahi mahi that I bought last week (that needed to get eaten!). We had stir fried kale and picbeets on the side.

Delicious.

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