Claudia Kwan/for metro vancouver


Eat Local Challenge project manager Shirlene Cote shows off a Cascade tomato grown in Kelowna.

Where does your food come from and how far does it travel before it hits your plate? Those are two questions you may want to ask yourself between today and Thanksgiving, as part of the Eat Local Challenge.

“If you’re eating local in-season produce, it’s picked closer to ripeness, so it’s more flavourful and nutritious,” project manager Shirlene Cote advocates. “You’re also supporting the local economy and reducing your food’s carbon footprint.”

For 14 years, ‘Tomato Guy’ Milan Djordjevich of Stoney Paradise farm in Kelowna has been dishing up puns and philosophy at local farmers’ markets. Many people line up to buy his Sungold tomatoes, which he limits to two baskets each. They’re addictive, he jokes.

“It’s a richer, more personal shopping experience when you feel like everyone’s a friend,” he said. “It’s a weekly ritual for some families to visit me.”

Cote admits it can be expensive to buy specialty produce.

“That’s why it’s important to think about your level of commitment to the challenge. Can you do 10 per cent, 25 per cent, 50 per cent local? Does that mean B.C., or Canadian produce?”

It also takes time and effort to ask questions at stores and restaurants, but she believes it’s a social experiment with massive benefits.

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