100 Mile Diet: Grass-Fed Bison, Anyone?

[Previous 100-mile adventure posts: Part I and Part II] A secret of the Santa Monica farmers' market: It's heaven for ethical carnivores (If you believe that phrase to be an oxymoron, skip to paragraph 3). Looking for free range, organic, grass-fed beef or pork? Stop at the Rocky Canyon Produce booth, which delivers its eco-meats from Atascadero, Calif. Can't live without Grass-fed bison? Lindner Bison, from Northern Calif., is there for you! There's fish too -- but the booth was too crowded for me to elbow in for more info.I, however, am not such a big fan of dealing with raw meat. I'll eat it, of course, if it's sustainably grown or fished -- and most importantly, cooked for me. This means that for all intents and purposes, I'm not a meateater and only an occasional fish eater. Yes, rest assured that I carry a Monterey Bay Aquarium wallet card for quick reference.

But meat or no meat, I gotta have protein, which is why I stopped by the Lily's Eggs booth and snagged a half dozen free range eggs straight from Santa Barbara county. "What do the chickens eat, exactly?" I asked. "Sprouts!" enthused the nice guy behind the table. Wow. These chickens are healthier than I am --


Organic Pastures' raw milk truck was offering unpasteurized milk from around Fresno, Calif. -- but being a bit lactose intolerant, I skipped that one by. Yes, raw milk advocates say that lactose intolerant people can handle raw milk -- but I was running around town all day looking for local protein, and wasn't ready to take the chance yet. Instead, I sampled the pistachios and the wares of other nutty booths.

What the farmers' market didn't offer: Tofu! It's a major staple of my diet! So I stopped by Co-opportunity, a co-op grocery store, to investigate my options -- and found 2 different tofus from California companies: San Diego Soy Dairy and Wildwood Natural Foods. I bought both, then started calling: "Hi! I just got your tofu, and was wondering -- are the soybeans grown in California?" Sadly, San Diego Soy Dairy's are not; the soybeans come from Missouri. I tried calling Wildwood Natural Foods too, but as of yet, haven't been able to get a live person on the phone.... I made my miso soup in sadness --

I also bought kidney and navy beans from SunRidge Farms, based in Pajaro, Calif., while at the Co-op. But a little internet research tells me that while SunRidge farms drives biodiesel trucks and has plans for solar roofs, its goodies aren't necessarily from California. I'm torn: Should I keep getting my beans from SunRidge, or keep investigating for a more local source?

One thing I got from the Co-op that most definitely IS local: Redwood Hill Farm goat milk yogurt. Interesting fact about lactose intolerance -- yogurt, which has live cultures, shouldn't pose any tummy problems for most. Neither should hard cheeses, FYI.

On a side note -- Whenever I mention I'm a bit lactose intolerant, I think of Chris Rock's joke: "We got so much food in America, we're allergic to food. Allergic to food! Hungry people ain't allergic to shit. You think anyone in Rwanda's got a fuckin' lactose intolerance?!" Which is why I sometimes eat a little cheese (in fact, I ate some goat cheese from Redwood Hill Farm a few weeks ago) or ice cream. Okay -- I actually eat cheese and ice cream because they're yummy and I can handle small amounts of milk products....

For more of Siel's adventures, check out Green LA Girl!

Tags: Local Food | Los Angeles