Kelley Atherton, The Triplicate

Book encourages readers to 'recapture food culture'

A new book all about local food (and how to eat it) on the North Coast is now available at several places in Crescent City.

Six women in Humboldt County calling themselves "The Heirloom

Tomatoes" have compiled over 200 recipes, plus advice and information

about local food into "Locally Delicious: Recipes and Recourses for

Eating on the North Coast."

It's for sale at the Hiouchi Hamlet, Bookcomber and Walgreens for $24.95. The ladies have a book signing today at the Redwood Acres Artisans Crafts Fair in Eureka. For more information about "Locally Delicious" visit www.locally-delicious.com.

"We have a chance to recapture the food culture we have here in the North Coast," said Ann Anderson, one of the editors, "We can still do it, to really create a healthy food environment."

The idea for the book originated about four years ago, Anderson explained, at a potluck of foods found within a 250-mile radius.

"People were struggling to find this or that," she said about cooking for the potluck. "It was apparent that people need help."

Then about two years ago at another potluck with some of the other "Tomatoes," the idea came up again, Anderson said. The ladies decided to put together a book filled with where to find local food, how to cook it, and why it's important to eat.

"It's good for our economies (in Del Norte, Humboldt and Mendocino Counties)," Anderson said. "It's good for the environment. Local food tends to be organic and grown sustainability."

Buying local foods also cuts down on the pollution expelled transporting food thousands of miles across the country and world, she said.

Plus, Anderson continued, there's no pesticides on produce or antibiotics and hormones in meat and dairy products found in organic food.

"Locally Delicious" provides a general idea of how to find local food, she explained, but also a specific list of where to find it on the North Coast.

Del Norte, Humboldt and Mendocino have a long history of agriculture, Anderson said.

"This area used to support itself with food," she said, "Now we purchase food, 85-90 percent of it comes in from out of the area. That's silly, we can do it here."

Food bought locally can sometimes be more expensive, so the "tomatoes" wanted to include how to eat local foods on a budget, Anderson said, such as buying in bulk and preserving it for later or cutting down on the amount of meat consumed.

To save even more money, the book has an introduction on hunting, fishing and growing food, she said.

"It's really a very complete look," Anderson said. "It's more than a cookbook. We call it a recipe for change through the relocations of agriculture food system."

The "Tomatoes" really advocate buying food from Del Norte, Humboldt and Mendocino, she said, but there is also information in the book about food available within a 250-mile radius (a day's drive) that can't be found here.

That's where we live, where our community is," Anderson said. "Change happens from the dirt up ... we can do something to affect our own region because we know about our own region."

And in case you're wondering why the six editors of "Locally Delicious" call themselves The Heirloom Tomatoes (the real thing adorns the cover):

"Tomatoes gets the brain thinking," Anderson said. "Oh, I know about tomatoes."

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