A year ago a group of families in Anchorage decided to eat only local food, for an entire year. In a state where winter dominates. I was skeptical.
The Alaska Food Challenge ended this week, and, apparently it was easier than everyone expected. Saskia Esslinger, who lives in East Anchorage, grew tons of vegetables and fruit last summer. Saskia said her garden produced about 1,600 pounds last year and the garden is already flourishing this season. Her husband Matt shot a caribou for protein, they fished and bought a half a pig from a farmer in the Valley.
Saskia got pretty creative with her cooking, she used the lard from the pig as a substitute for olive oil. The three chickens at her house remain nameless, because they’ll eventually be used in a soup, and she used rhubarb juice as a substitute for cranberry juice.
The family was allowed a few ‘cheat’s’ like salt and pepper. They also decided that eating out would be allowed as long as they also had friends over for a second, all local meal.
Probably the number one question Saskia gets is what food did you miss?
“I missed coffee, a lot.” said Saskia, “I realized I can go without it, but that it really does make life a little better.”
Saskia said now that the challenge is over she’s decided to continue using mostly local products, but will buy a few other foods as well.
For more information on Saskia, and the Alaska Food Challenge check out these links.