I No Longer Pack a Local Lunch…But They Do

August 24, 2011 at 8:35 am

Rob Gardner

Today the Local Kids marched off on their first day of school.  In all the hub-bub of new outfits, new haircuts, remembered supplies, my older daughter failed to get sentimental that this was her very last, first day of school.  She did, like she has done on the first day of school for several years now, leave with a local lunch.  I had planned on simply recycling last year’s post on packing your kid a local lunch, until I realized that I no longer pack the local lunch.  Some time last year, we finally trained the kids to make their own lunches.  Freeing me up to do more productive things in the AM, like Twitter.  Hopefully, next year, in her first year of college, she will also pack a local lunch to start the year.

Today, their local lunch included Wisconsin cheddar cheese sandwiches (on Turano rolls) and Tomato Mountain radishes and cherry tomatoes.  It’s easy this time of year to fill up a local lunch.  Still, many weeks from now, they will still be packing local lunches, even if it means their veg is a big bag of sprouts.  Besides all the produce, there are other ways to make the lunches local.

Cheddar is just one of many local cheeses that can go on their sandwiches.  The Local kids are especially fond of goat cheeses, and we have an array of fine ones from the small farm Prairie Fruit Farms to the commercial yet high quality Mont Chevre.  If we can plug Tomato Mountain some more, you can do no worse than a goat cheese and TM sun gold preserve sandwich.

For days without cheese, you have some excellent choices for local cold cuts, much better choices, in fact, than when I was packing the lunches.  For instance, you can now visit City Provision’s Deli or Butcher and Larder for fixin’s.  At many area farmer’s markets you can find Crystal Nellis and her C & D Pastured Pork.  She makes an excellent ham.  Just at your neighborhood Caputo’s, you can find the well made turkey from Michigan’s Golden Legacy.

We still have not found local peanut butter, but we still love locally made peanut butter.  Cream-Nut peanut butter created in Grand Rapids, Michigan tastes like peanut butter should.  Because my wife works for Tomato Mountain, we have endless supplies of strawberry preserves leftover from samples.  Lucky us!  There are so many other great local jams and jellies out there at the markets if you don’t make your own (or work for someone who makes their own).

As I noted last year, you do not have to limit their lunches to sandwiches.  This is the time of year, for sure, for the “blue cheese ala Hananh.”  Take one of those red peppers finally now in season.  Split.  Seed.  Find a good local blue cheese.  We’re partial to the products from Wisconsin’s Hook’s if you can track down.  Let it come to room temperature (to soften).  Then fill the red pepper cavity.  [ed. great also for adults on low carb diets!]

Hey, just because I’ve finally been relieved of the lunch making burden, does not mean I don’t hold a keen interest in local lunches.  I’ll try to do a decent job of reporting their efforts.  Don’t you especially want to know what kids do left to their own devices.  And I want to know about the local lunches your kids take, whether packed by you or them.  Let’s strive for local lunches this year.