Most backyard gardeners know the sinking feeling of too much squash, and farmers’ market bargain hunters the regret of those extra flats of tomatoes. What’s the best way to deal with an overabundance of seasonal produce? That’s the special focus of Bon Appétit’s 12th Annual Eat Local Challenge on September 27 this year!
For Eat Local Challenge 2016: Bumper Crop Edition, we challenged our chefs to educate guests about a common issue that many Bon Appétit cafés experience — trying to help local farmers who are having difficulty unloading an unusually large harvest — by incorporating a local bumper crop into their 100% local meal and featuring the item in at least two other entrées.
(For those new to Eat Local Challenge, each year, Bon Appétit chefs across the country are challenged to create a complete meal made entirely of ingredients grown within 150 miles of their cafés. When you break it down to finding locally grown and produced seasonings, flours, oils, and sweeteners, the task is tougher than you’d think!)
Buying bumper crops helps prevent food waste on the farm and at the market, and of course helps local farmers get paid for their efforts. At Bon Appétit, our chefs’ relationships with local producers, ability to create food and menus from scratch, and commitment to reducing food waste means we’re in a position to help. On Eat Local Challenge Day, we invite our guests to taste our chefs’ featured dishes and learn about creative bumper crop strategies and how to apply them on a smaller scale at home.
To jumpstart the food-waste fighting, we’re excited to give away 10 copies of one of our favorite books, the Waste-Free Kitchen Handbook: A Guide to Eating Well and Saving Money by Wasting Less Food by Dana Gunders, lead scientist for the Natural Resources Defense Council’s food waste work. Between September 19 – 29, enter for a chance to win a copy by:
- telling or showing us your plans for utilizing an overabundance of produce that you have. (Plans for cooking, preserving, or sharing all count!)
- tagging #eatlocalchallenge in your Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram post
On September 30, 10 winners will be randomly drawn from all the entries and contacted via social media. All food waste warriors are welcome to enter. No purchase or affiliation with a Bon Appétit campus required.
Whether you’re joining us at your local Bon Appétit café for Eat Local Challenge or not, we hope you will celebrate the flavors, diversity — and occasional overabundance — of our local foodsheds.