Top Ten Must Have Non-local Foods

Back in 2011 I posted a list of my must have non-local foods.  I thought it might be interesting to revisit this list and see what is different for me now.  

I am a huge proponent of local eating.  I feel like it is safer most of the time when you know where your food is coming from, and especially if you are producing a lot of your own food.  Eating a whole foods, plant based diet while living in Maine is challenging, especially during the long winter.  So let us see where I am today with must have non-local foods.

1.)  Good quality extra virgin olive oil:  I use two oils mainly, evoo and coconut oil.  I use evoo for a lot of different salads, whether it is an oil and vinegar dressing on a green salad, or as an ingredient for my black bean salad, I use it a lot.  Could I live without it?  Certainly, but I feel like life is better with evoo and a nice hunk of focaccia to dip in it.

2.)  Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil & Flaked CoconutI only recently started using coconut oil a lot.  I have replaced the vegetable oil I typically used in baking with the coconut oil, and I love it.  I feel like the subtle coconut flavor is amazing.  I also make my own coconut milk for cooking with – mainly curry.  I was never a big fan of coconut growing up, but it has found its way into my heart now.

3.)  Coffee:  This should probably be number 1, because I love me some coffee.  I have a love hate relationship with this lovely beverage.  Sometimes I want to give it up, because of the caffeine, but then I realize that I would still just buy decaf because I love coffee that much!

4.)  Tea:  Tea is another one that I need to have available.  Sure, I could grow herbs for tea where I live, but during those periods where I think I will give up coffee – I am still drinking tea.  And I use a lot of the different Traditional Medicinal teas for health and wellness.  I’m not entirely sure which of those different blends could be sourced locally by making my own tea mixes, I would have to do more research.

5.)  Nutritional YeastI just recently discovered nutritional yeast.  Well, I had read about it a number of times over the past year, but finally tried it myself this past winter.  I have mostly given up dairy, but as someone who absolutely loves cheese, I needed an alternative.  This is it.  I put it on my salad, on popcorn, in soups, make a nacho “cheese” sauce from it – the stuff is incredible.

6.)  Nuts:  Specifically raw almonds, walnuts and peanuts.  I have been making my own almond milk for quite a while now.  Before it was just for the kids drinking, but now I use it in a number of recipes as well – one of which is my salad dressing (come back tomorrow for the recipe).  My kids snack on walnuts and craisins and we eat a ton of peanut butter whether it is the typical peanut butter sandwich or if I am using peanut butter for a noodle salad, it would definitely be difficult to not have around!

7.)  Avocados:  I love them.  They are a healthy fat, and who doesn’t love guacamole?  They make a great chocolate “pudding” for the kids, and are a constant in our salads.

8.)  Citrus:  In my last list I actually listed out oranges, lemons, and limes.  But, this time I am lumping them together.  I think if I had to pick one, it would probably be lemons.  But, I do love my citrus.

9.)  Bananas:  Last time this one didn’t make the list, but this time I am including it.  We eat a lot of bananas here.  I have talked before about not buying strawberries in January because they aren’t in season.  Well, bananas do not seem to fall in that same category.  I think the difference is that I can actually buy strawberries in season in Maine, so I have a hard time buying them out of season from another country.  Bananas are a regular in our green smoothies as well as a snack for the kids or in their morning oatmeal.

10.)  Chia SeedsYes, these would be the same seeds as the ones that are from those lovely chia pets of the 80’s and 90’s.  They are an amazing super food though.  I put them in salad dressing to thicken it, in smoothies, on salads.  You can really add them to anything because they don’t have a very distinct flavor.  If you haven’t tried them, you should.

These are my top ten now.  Obviously it has grown a bit since my last list, but these are the non-local foods that I seem to find in my house that are used on a regular basis.  Could I do without a lot of these?  Absolutely.  I know that I could change my diet to an even more local diet if I included more animal products.  But, that isn’t the stage I am in right now.

Do you have a list of non-local foods that you buy week after week?  Is it a concern to you that these aren’t available locally?  Are there substitutions you could make so that your diet was more local?

Linking up at Clever Chicks and the Homestead Barn Hop


  1. I like chia seeds in my oatmeal.

    And I love nutritional yeast on popcorn!

  2. I think my list would be exactly the same! I don't think I could do without any of the items you listed. Occasionally I can get nuts locally (David's grandma has a huge pecan tree) but everything else I can't find locally.

  3. I nodded my head in agreement with almost everything on your list. I don't use coconut oil (too much...yet) but I definitely do coconut milk (and also coffee) daily. Usually I make sure both are organic. Almost daily: olive oil, avocados, bananas, and almonds (or almond butter). Weekly: citrus, chia seeds (in kombucha), frozen fruits, and currently yogurt (of the worst variety....full of hormones, sigh!). Right now, I'm on a tea kick too..(again, mostly organic).

  4. Loving this list. I might have to look up that recipe for the nacho cheese with the nutritional yeast.


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