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Sunday, January 21, 2018

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Local family enjoys the many benefits of eating local food

Montana Local Food Challenge

By Cindy Mullet

Ranger-Review Staff Writer

Caring for a new baby and battling the hot, dry summer left Celeste and Ryan Brant with a pitiful garden, but help from the farmers market and the Farm to Table store made it easy for them to participate in a local food challenge.

“Gosh, we eat locally almost every day anyway,” Celeste noted.

Celeste said she signed up for the Montana Local Food Challenge at the Farm to Table store because she really believes in the importance of purchasing locally as much as possible. The challenge, sponsored by the Northern Plains Resource Council, encourages participants to eat local food every day during August and also presents them with special weekly challenges.

“Local foods are good for our health, our climate and our community,” the Montana Local Food Challenge web page notes, adding, local foods build community and local economies, support local farm and ranch families, preserve genetic diversity, protect our regional food security, taste better and are often fresher, preserve open spaces and support a clean environment. 

The Brants buy local honey and use it every day. They buy all their eggs locally, use local beef from Farm to Table and hit the farmers market for vegetables. They also purchase meat from Triple T, and Ryan hunts every fall, Celeste said.

The Brants have two young boys, Bruce who is 2 years old and Rowland who is 10 weeks. They want to give them the best start in life that they can and purchasing and using nonprocessed foods seems a good way to do that, she added.

When they moved to Glendive 10-plus years ago, they had only a small square garden spot. Each year they tilled a little more grass until now they have space for a big garden and usually enjoy abundant produce from it during the summer, she noted.

This year with a baby to care for, Celeste didn’t have as much time to garden and while Ryan did his best with the spare time he had, the heat and lack of rain left them with very little produce from the garden and very grateful for the farmers market, she said, adding that just the night before they had enjoyed a supper of beets from the farmers market and a chicken breast from Farm-to-Table.

Almond flour banana pancakes made with local eggs are a favorite breakfast meal for the Brant family. Bruce always likes to help with the eggs when she is mixing up the pancakes, she said.

While Celeste’s family moved around a lot when she was a child, her mother always loved gardening. She can remember her making chokecherry jam and syrup and also remembers going with her mother to pick raspberries, she said.

When she and Ryan moved to Glendive, Alvin and Dena Hoff invited them for a meal. Everything that was served came from the Hoff farm and it was so delicious, she said.

Experiences like that from her childhood and the meal at the Hoffs helped shape her support of local food and convinced her that it was more flavorful than much of the food purchased at a supermarket, she said.

Along with the flavor and nutritional benefits of garden produce, she also enjoys the peace of mind gardening gives her. She can get lost out in her garden, tending her carrots, beets, radishes, squash, kale, spinach, tomatoes and peppers as well as raspberry, blackberry and strawberry plants. She looks forward to next summer when both boys will be old enough to allow her to spend more time there.

“Sometimes local produce doesn’t look as beautiful as stuff in stores but we know it’ll taste good,” Celeste said.

Participating in the local food challenge gave her a chance to show her support of local resources and the importance of eating wholesome, non-processed food.

“People can eat all the boxed stuff (at cheaper prices) or spend a little more and invest in their health,” she said.

Reach Cindy Mullet at



Almond flour banana pancakes


1/3 cup almond flour

1  banana

3  eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

1 Tbs. coconut flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

Mix all ingredients in blender. Scrape sides of blender once. Let set for one minute and then pour batter on griddle.

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