It may be difficult to imagine how any kid raised on Swanson TV dinners actually lived to tell about it, although Candace Cross is proof that, indeed, it can happen. (Sorry, Mom.)

Despite most of her sustenance as a child coming from frozen meals in tin containers and tin cans full of peas and peaches (or perhaps because of it), Candace achieved adulthood, emerging as curious and resourceful in the kitchen, and an eager explorer of all varieties of cuisine.

While she’s not about to skip a hike or a bike ride on a glorious summer Saturday when the local farmers market is bustling, seeking out produce that’s been grown near home is still a priority to her whenever possible. Candace carves out as much time to cook as she can, and the fresher and more local the ingredients, the better. 

The fact is, though, cooking is a financial necessity. That’s why 90 percent of what Candace eats is what she’s procured and prepared on her own. Fortunately her kitchen skills have been carefully honed over the decades, with one of her first jobs in high school as a short-order cook. Candace cooks – a lot – and preferably with a recipe so her brain doesn’t need to go on overdrive at the exact moment at the end of each day when she looks forward to decompressing.

The concept of Aspen Locavore initially intrigued Candace because she thinks locally grown foods are tastier and she feels eating local is good citizenship. For this project, if the ingredient is listed in the title of the recipe she will prepare, Candace will be sourcing it locally. Over the 40-day period of the Aspen Locavore challenge, she intends to track down as many ingredients as she can find within a reasonable distance from home, and she’s hoping it can be sourced nearby without having to sacrifice too much time, effort and money to get it. Foods not grown in proximity might be substituted with something produced nearby like coffee from Rock Canyon Coffee or beer from the Aspen Brewing Company.

And if all else fails, Candace once survived on frozen TV dinners, so she could probably manage it again. She’ll be looking for a local source for these too.

Candace's Pantry



  • Beer - Aspen Brewing Company (2 miles)
  • Bourbon - Stay tuned!
  • Coffee - Rock Canyon Coffee (19 miles)
  • Stay tuned for more!

Produce: I'm shopping for a CSA!


Restaurant Meals

  • Stay tuned!