In 2006, the legislature of Maine updated its Food Policy, and in doing so set a goal that by the year 2020, 80% of the food calories consumed in the state would be grown in the state. This would be an increase from the 20% currently grown and consumed in the state of Maine. (Information via the Maine Foods Network)

80% of food calories. This means Mainers will still be enjoying things that have no business growing in New England: bananas, coffee, pineapples. But it will shift the focus to making most meals mostly local, and it will certainly cut down on the silly situation of buying apples from New Zealand at the height of apple season. I like the idea of 80%, it’s a good goal, a strong statement for local foods and the social and environmental benefits brought about by increased support for local agriculture, but it’s also something that allows us all to be human and enjoy a diverse diet.

I’m eating an 80% meal myself tonight, a lentil dish I learned to cook in Turkey. While the lentils themselves are from Indiana, the lamb, onion, tomatoes, butter, and yogurt for serving are all very local, and very delicious.

Turkish Lentils
(enough to feed a crowd, or plenty for a family with awesome leftovers)

  • 1 lb lentils
  • 1 lb ground lamb (Riverslea in Epping is a great source)
  • 1 b onions
  • 1 qt canned tomatoes
  • 1 cup plain, thick yogurt (like Silvery Moon Creamery’s)
  • White bread and butter to eat alongside.

Chop onions and saute in a large pot until soft and a little brown. Add ground lamb and continue cooking until browned. Add lentils and tomato. Stir, then add additional water until the lentils are covered. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, until tender, about 45 minutes. Stir occasionally and add more water if needed. Season with salt and serve with giant dollops of yogurt and slices of bread and butter.

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