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Eat Local Challenge Week 3 with Eric Clavo

Written by  Eric Clavo
Finally, it’s my leg of the race in the Team IntheNOLA Relay for the Eat Local Challenge. I’ve been sitting back, quietly rubbing my hands together only like a super-villain would, just waiting and biding my time. And it’s finally here (thunder claps)! Why am I so excited? Well, if you’re familiar with the pictures from our Team IntheNOLA photo-shoot, you know what type of race this is going to be. If there is anyone out there in the NOLAverse who knows me or has even spoken with me at your local watering hole, you know that there are two things that I am passionate about: the City of New Orleans (I can wax poetic for hours or at least the time it takes me to finish a High Life), and alcohol. When I say I’m passionate about alcohol, it doesn’t mean I just like to drink, it means that I understand the skill and craftsmanship it takes to make a really good drink.

Now, I know this challenge is focused on the meals that we eat on a daily basis, but as New Orleanians, a strong component of our meal is what we drink (at least it is for me). While I’ll definitely be taking you through some of the meals that I eat and where I purchased all of the items, tonight is my night. Tonight, I get the torch and my torch has rum in it. Old New Orleans Rum is the torch that I carry. And with that torch, I have a something special for you, an Eat Local Challenge version of the mojito.
Eat Local Challenge 2012 |

Let’s begin with the basic ingredients of a mojito: light rum, mint, sugar, muddler, and
lime juice. These are the more traditional ingredients for a mojito, but remember, this is a “special” mojito, Eric’s All Local Blueberry Mojito. Since this beverage shares my name, I needed the best of ingredients, including Old New Orleans 3-year rum (which is a darker rum with a lot of flavor due to the barrel aging), mint from the Edible Schoolyard New Orleans, Dixie sugar (from Gramercy), and blueberries (which I picked myself by hand from J&D Blueberry Farms in Poplarville, MS). I had to eliminate the lime juice since I couldn’t find local limes.
Eat Local Challenge 2012 | IntheNOLA.comSo, here’s how you make Eric’s All Local Blueberry Mojito:

First, add your blueberries into the muddler. Next, add a bit of sugar. Finally, add your mint and mix it just enough to release the oils from the leaves. Finally, add the rum and mix together. Pour over a glass of ice and enjoy!
Try it yourself and let me know how you like it. And continue to eat local and follow me on my journey!


I hate shopping; I really do. I don’t like going into stores or malls and having to wait in long lines to purchase the few items that I have. But now I have a problem, I need to get more food. Since I am participating in the Eat Local Challenge, I have to be very thoughtful about where I buy my food from to be certain that it is grown or produced within 200 miles of our fair city. So my inner voice said, “Just go to the New Orleans Food Co-op inside the New Orleans Healing Center on St. Claude. They should have local items.” Perfect, that’s where I’ll go.
I make my way down to the Food Co-op, and I immediately approach a lovely woman and say, “Excuse me lady (cause I enjoy using lady). Where are all of your locally grown items?” She so kindly points me over to the produce aisle, where there are about 15 or so items grown in and around the state. Sweet, problem solved, right?

No. Now I have anther problem. What am I going to cook? I see baby eggplants and fancy onions, even some jalapeños. But the real problem is, I don’t know how to cook any of that. I could make an eggplant, onion, and jalapeño soup, but that doesn’t sound very tasty. So I keep looking and think to myself, “What can I cook? What can I cook?” Finally, I see it: collard greens. I know how to cook collard greens…or at least I think I do. At any rate, I can just call someone and they can give me a recipe. Hey, I might even throw in some of those fancy onions that I saw. Look at me, a regular poor man’s John Besh.

I grab my greens and make my way around the store. Lucky for me, they have all of the local items marked for my convenience. But I keep hearing that same nagging voice in my head, “Can I really cook something with that?” And then I see it. It’s as if the roof of the Co-Op opened and a twinkle of light was shining just for me. I walk over to the meat section and I see the package just sitting there…waiting…wanting to be held.
I quickly pick it up and read the packaging, ground meat from less than 200 miles away. Yes! It felt as if I had hit the lottery.
Meat! I can eat meat! I don’t have to just eat eggplant, onion, and jalapeño soup. But then I heard that voice again, “How am I going to cook it?”

Last modified on Wednesday, 20 June 2012

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