Monday, November 14, 2011

Dark Days Challenge

I wasn't sure if it would happen again this year, but an email landed in my inbox last week from Laura over at (not so) Urban Hennery. An informal poll of previous participants was being done to gauge interest in a dark days challenge for this year. The response I saw was overwhelmingly positive, so The 5th Annual Dark Days Challenge is on!
All of the info is available at the above link, which also contains the signup info. In short, the signup is located at (not so) Urban Hennery and the challenge will be hosted by the excellent and insightful collective blog Not Dabbling In Normal . There are even rumblings of theme weeks and prizes, which is a new twist to the challenge for me!!
The rundown on the challenge:
Dates: 11/27/2011 - 3/31/2012
The challenge: Cook one meal each week featuring SOLE (sustainable, organic, local, ethical) ingredients and document the experience.
What is local??: There is a great deal of contention about that, but for the purposes of this challenge many (including this blog) will be using a 150 mile radius. There are some exceptions to the local requirements, oils, chocolate, spices, and coffee, but it's up to each individual participant what they consider local and what exceptions they are making. Part of the challenge is trying to find the ingredients locally, or if necessary, coming up with substitutes that can be sourced locally.
Again, all the details and sign up info can be found at (not so) Urban Hennery.

For Gail and I we use a radius of 150 miles, and take exception for oils, chocolate, spices, and coffee, though I will be making an effort to source my coffee from local roasters, and even use local chocolate companies like Taza when affordable. Part of the fun of the challenge is coming up with interesting meals, so I'm not blogging about soups and only soups, though there will be some delicious soups in our future. Last year we made it from 12/1/2010-3/15/2011. Two of my favorites were my first-attempt at roasting a whole chicken with buttermilk rolls and root veggies and a great salad  with apples and radish with chipotle cheddar grilled cheese.
150 miles radius from our condo.
Above you can see what constitutes a 150 mile radius from where Gail and I live. Lucky for us there are a number of local producers that fall within this ranger that will make parts of this challenge easier (King Arthur flour, and a number of small batch honey, grain, pasta, cheese, and coffee roasters in particular). Before the challenge gets underway I will post a list of what we've put up that is in our kitchen along with some of the sources I except to be using for much of this challenge.
I hope some of you will take up the challenge (whether you blog about it or not), and that all of you will follow along with me and the other participants around the Internets and at Not Dabbling in Normal


Allison@KingArthurFlour said...

Way to go for participating in this challenge! Eating locally and sustainably can be so delicious!

Just a little clarification: While King Arthur Flour is headquartered in Vermont, our flour is not grown or milled in the state. We source only the highest quality U.S.-grown flour (primarily from the Midwest, where most of the wheat in the country is grown) and mill it to the strictest standards at mills near the fields. We certainly appreciate your support of our "local" employee-owned business, but we want you to have all the facts! You can learn a bit more on our website:

Good luck with the challenge!

Fred said...

Thanks so much Allison! I am aware that KAF sources their flour outside of New England. Part of the challenge for me, when not being able to find the ingredients in an entirely local setting is sourceing them from local companies whose business I would like to support. King Arthur Flour, Taza Chocolate, and many small batch coffee roasters are some great examples of these!