Summer is officially here, it’s June and that means that NOLA Locavores is presenting their third annual Eat Local Challenge to promote the nutritional, economical, environmental, and cultural benefits of locally sourced food. The challenge is simple: participants must spend the month of June eating only foods that are grown, raised, or caught within a 200 mile radius of New Orleans. And while this may seem like a daunting task, the NOLA Locavores are here to help. Their website features three completely local recipes a day, and there’s also a message board where participants can share their own recipes and eat-local strategies.
New Orleans chef, Aaron Wilkinson shared his all-local recipe for smothered okra with OffBeat‘s food editor, Elsa Hahne for her column, “The Gravy” last summer during the Eat Local Challenge here.
But eating local doesn’t have to mean staying in and cooking for yourself. A number of the city’s finest restaurants have collaborated with NOLA Locavores to create menu items that meet the local-only challenge. Participants this year include Commander’s Palace, a Mano, Café Degas, and six of local super-chef John Besh’s restaurants. Pizza lovers will also be delighted that Slice, Theo’s, Ancora, Pizzicare, and Pizza Delicious have all created specialty pies that meet the challenge.
In addition to the challenge itself, NOLA Locavores is hosting a city-wide scavenger hunt, a cocktail recipe contest, and an urban farm bike tour to celebrate locally-sourced food and drink. The scavenger hunt, which includes a $1000 prize for the winner, will take participants all over New Orleans and even outside the city to places like Liuzza’s Produce Farm in Amite and the Covington Brewhouse in Covington.
The first annual Garden to Glass Local Ingredient Cocktail Contest, sponsored by Atelier Vie, dp distillers, and Old New Orleans Rum, will take place June 17 at the Old New Orleans Rum distillery, located at 2815 Frenchmen Street, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Participants must use one of the three sponsors’ local spirits as a base, and must use all local ingredients to create the best tasting and most creative cocktail possible. A panel of five celebrity judges will award the winner a $1,000 prize.
Finally, NOLA Locavores teams up with NOLA Social Ride and Parkway Partners to host the first annual New Orleans Eat Local Challenge Urban Farm Bike Tour on Sunday, June 9, meeting at 9 a.m. Participants will tour local gardens and greenhouses, stopping along the way for water breaks and, of course, locally-grown refreshments. On-site bike rentals will be available from the American Bicycle Rental Company.
If this is the first time you’ve heard about the Eat Local Challenge, don’t worry, it’s not too late to join the fun. The Challenge is still accepting late registration at a fee of $25. You can register now at the Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center and OCH Arts Market at 1618 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. in Central City.
Late Registration for NOLA Locavores 2013 Eat Local Challenge
Date: Wednesday, June 5 – Friday, June 7
Time: 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Location: Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center & OCH Market
1618 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd.
Neighborhood: Central City
Registration Fee: $25
More Info: www.nolalocavore.org