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Are we being responsible?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Something has been toubling me for some time, and I'd like to know what everyone else thinks. Years ago I used to buy excess local produce from neighborhood gardeners. When they had a bumper crop of anything, rather than try to unload it on the neighbors, I let them know that I would pay. This concept has evolved into the fresh/local thing, which I understand, but believe we are taking to an extreme to the point that I wonder if we are being responsible. One of our local charter schools recently hired a national subcontractor to do their school lunches. There was an article in the local paper where they stated they were doing all "Fresh and local". I live in S.E. Minnesota. Today is Oct. 12, and admittedly early, but it snowed all day. I can't help wondering what they think they're going to serve these kids if it's going to be "fresh and local". They bragged they serve no canned fruit. (Looking at the average lunch menu, I think canned fruit is the least of their worries). Anyway, the only local fruit we have around here is apples, and I think kids will get sick of apples in a hurry. We used to buy crates of peaches, pears and cherries in seanson and can our own at home. Since when is canned food bad for you (other than the salt, and canneries will correct that with some pressure)? The public schools have introduced buffalo to the school menu with great success. We have several buffalo farms in this area, so this makes sense. We also have two major canning factories within 50 miles of here that buy local crops to process. This employs local people, both the farmers who raise the crops and the people who can it. It's local, but canned. Which brings me around to the point of this thread; When we preach "fresh and local", do we even know what we are talking about? Are we leaving people (especially kids) with the idea that if a vegetable is canned or frozen, it's bad for you? I'm afraid we are. After Jurassic Park came out, dinosaurs were "It". I heard little kids saying they wished we hadn't killed off the dinosaurs. They weren't aware that there were no human beings on Earth at the time of the dinosaurs. They felt guilty that they'd done something wrong just by existing. So now, are we creating mind-set that they think they have to feel guily for eating a conned or froen vegetable, or that they did something wrong by eating chili that had canned tomatoes instead for fresh, local, and for real guilt- not organic? I'm afraid that's exactly what we're doing. Any thoughts?
post #2 of 15
i dont think theres anything wrong with using non-organic/sustainable/local/whatever when you have to. im in chicago, does that mean no saltwater fish ever? i see french fries all year, are russets seasonal in april? no. customers want whats trendy, be that chilean sea bass with mango foam or peas that the chef grew in his backyard. i support local/sustainable/organic and definitely seasonal. but there are compromises. to me this is similar to what marco white said: "if you can buy it better than you can make it, swallow the pride and buy it." if you need it and it comes from 1000 miles away, buy it.
Bork Bork Bork!
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Bork Bork Bork!
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post #3 of 15
They said they wouldnt buy anything canned, did they mention frozen?
Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
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Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
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post #4 of 15
i feel like a jerk, but could someone paraphrase that post?
post #5 of 15
sure, there's stiff propaganda being espoused usually by non-professionals (who consider themselves "eco-foodies")
that you can supply schools (read nominal$ meals) and restaurants with local organic food year round.

Well those of us that live in the mid-west where outdoor growing season is mid/end April or May-Nov. That leaves a lot of time when local is not available unless it's preserved (canned, frozen, dried) from last season.

In essence, ignorant snobbinest is being foisted at those trying to work with their local food shed. Most snobs don't realize who the farmer players are, local does not equal organic, organic does not always equal environmentally diverse, schools need to reinvent what has been out of use for a long time.....

that about right Greyeagle?
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #6 of 15
Shroomgirl, I have been involved in a heated debate lately with some of our local "eco-foodies" and I asked the one leading the charge last week what she was going to do in Dec when the tomatos, bananas, fruits, and greens were gone? Her response was all I have to do is drive down to the Whole Foods, its all local and organic! I literally laughed out loud at her as did some of her collegues for her ignorance. I keep telling them there is nothing wrong with combining a flash frozen product to supplement fresh when out of season, but these extremists just dont get it. As Americans we will never live a "European" lifestyle in mass, meaning buying what is local(for most)on the way home from work to cook at home tonight. We would never give up our large refrigerators and freezers for an under counter unit the size of a dishwasher, its not how we think. Most of us have the best intentions but we dont have the fortitiude to give it all up.
Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
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Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
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post #7 of 15
Militant Ignorance (MI)is so friggin' annoying.....:laser:

I keep thinking they will do their homework and stop being asses but that just hasn't happened and good local buying chefs are being ignored or kicked to the curb. With the "hip new guys" taking over.

Educating has always been a huge MO for me, but I hate being around MI's.....if they weren't so militant it'd be OK.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #8 of 15
I couldnt have said it any better!!
Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
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Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
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post #9 of 15
I feel even more ignorant than I probably am :*(
I (we) try to support local farmers by buying their products when they have them.
I'm not going to sit here and list a bunch of local farms that I use, or their products, but believe me that their yield is seasonal. P

Honestly, this thread makes me sad.
What is the problem that needs to be dealt with, plz, so that I can do my part?
Are you saying that the companies that produce "organic" products en masse are dubious?

edit: on second read, yes, yes you are. well, i try to keep myself informed. Count me as a friendly.
post #10 of 15
I'm not going to sit here and list a bunch of local farms that I use, or their products, but believe me that their yield is seasonal. P


Seasonal product can be preserved for winter.....it's been done through the millenium and will be done in the future.
Canning, freezing, drying, cold storage....it's a given if you want to have a "local food meal" in Feb then you'll need to use preserved product. Some people are sticking their noses in the air about using canned food, or frozen product....it's not helpful when trying to cook for people. Especially schools that are on limited budgets.

This is an example of what I preserve:
frozen pesto
frozen chevre....my main farmstead maker closes from Dec-April to give his goats a break.
Apple cider into paste or freeze
charred small peppers....frozen
romesco sauce (tomatoes, pepper sauce)
dried wild mushrooms
dried chipotles
dried herbs
dried beans.....some frozen fresh cranberry beans
brandied cherries, bourbon prunes
Bread and butter pickles
fraise du bois, black raspberry jams
frozen pecans
frozen black walnuts
frozen berries.....raspberries, blueberries, gooseberries, rhubarb
This does not include cookies, bars, chickens, piggy parts that also fill out the freezers.

explore organic mono-cropping.....
explore closed circle poly cropping/with animals farming....
It's all about healthy, alive soil......great soil maintains moisture which is the next HUGE environmental issue.

I'm sorry if the roiling boil of rant was apparent in my responses....guess it's been festering for a while.:peace:

Food is an expression of love. From growth to what you do with waste to sharing with others via cooking/serving......
as professionals in food we decide for ourselves what works for us....from gathering information and making informed decisions, to maintaining sustainability within our budgets.....

This is America, we are still a democracy....if it's important enough to you then work to make your voice heard....

this is such a cool thing to say:
What is the problem that needs to be dealt with, plz, so that I can do my part?

Thank you for caring.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #11 of 15
I have been on the email list for a local foodshare group and I opted not to join it because it would have taken away the control that I have over what I buy for my family. I shop every week at the local farmers market and I know for a fact that my fresh lettuce etc that I buy in the winter is more than likely from the food terminal than it is their farms. Do I have a problem with that.. well not really as I am still supporting local farmers and by local I mean in the southern part of the province as I give them my year round business. I have always found the freshness and quality of what I see at the market far superior to that of the supermarkets as well as the foodshare that so desperately wants to see me join up. Also I have to be realistic.. I live in Canada and if I want to have bananas, oranges (well any citrus fruit), and alot of exotic fruits I need to realize that what i purchase is just not going to be local and there is nothing we can do about that unless global warming comes to such a point that the northern hemosphere and southern reverse climates.
I have to agree with everyone here.. this whole focus of eating local has been come up with by a group of hippie granola types who are really and truly caught up in their cause without really looking at it practically. I say..buy local in season, use in season fruit and veg to its max but.. be realistic folks.. unless you live in the southern US or further south, growing season everywhere is pretty limited.

Just my few cents..
OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
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OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
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post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the translation 'Shroomgirl. I couldn't have said it better myself. :lol: I'm relieved to know I'm not the only one who sees a little rabid lunacy in the whole trend. Like I said, I understand the concept. Twenty years ago I was buying excess garden produce people had from their back yard gardens. It was a home cooking place, so during the summer your meat loaf dinner might come with locally grown creamed cucumbers and an ear of corn. I couldn't do that in the winter, and no one expected it. What's funny is the people who get on the bandwagon about this are the same ones who get all starry-eyed over sun dried tomatoes from Italy. Where's their fresh and local soap box then? Oops, I think they fell off!
post #13 of 15
For the record I completely agree with the sentiments above.

There is, however, another side to the local eating trend that I find disturbing. There seems to be a bit of a fortress mentality, a subtle undercurrent of "us before them." Not too long ago we were living in the "global village" (again for the record, a term I dislike for its naive simplicity) and now we seem to be pulling up the draw bridges and lighting the moats on fire.

I find the local movement, as an ethos, or moral imperative to be short sighted and sorely lacking. It seemed just a couple of years ago a major international issue was lobbying to have the WTO lift crippling grain export taxes of Africa nations, taxes which effectively had them shut out the international grain market. And helped keep their economies in the hands of warlords, blood diamonds, and other dubious mineral extraction. Where is that concern in an all local all the time world?

I suppose "I am my brother's keeper" only applies to brothers that live in a hundred mile radius.

--Al
post #14 of 15
I have an Aunt who is an organizer and leader in a locovore/slow foods movement in the NW part of the US. I cant speak with her because I work in the manufacturing end of the food business after 20 years in the restaurant business, she thinks I am a sellout and am poisoning the country one product at a time, therefore I am doing the devils work. I just dont get the mentality of the movement. They are truely militant and dont see things the way most others do. Not everyone is a stay at home Mom/Dad or single income family, more of us have nowhere to grow crops than do and those that do have a yard to grow produce cant grow enough to feed a family for the year, much less a season. If they knew that the precious organic produce they buy at a Whole Foods is the same as what is sold as the organic at Wal Mart they would collapse. There are only so many farms that produce enough product to supply grocers and there are even fewer that are organic. Wal Mart is the largest seller of organic foods(including produce) in the country, do they think there are different regs for one vs another? The lack of insight, education and just plain common sense is disturbing when they spew the misinformation to the general public villifying the food industry.

I could go on for days about this and films like Food Inc and what they are doing but I'm going to get off my soap box and go poison some more ppl...
Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
Reply
Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
Reply
post #15 of 15
What I took away from this year's Chef Collaborative Conference:

Chef's Collaborative national will provide information on food ecology, the office members will diseminate information and share with it's culinary professional members. They've done a great job with sustainable fish, working on whole animal info, energy in kitchens.....

It is up to each member to decide what works for their business. If you look at the member list it speaks for itself.

Slow Food is made up of general public. They have recently embraced politics, local food, school food.....all super endeavors. It's OK to be angry about our food system....it's been broken a long long time, the pendulum is swinging back to a different model. Fred Kirschenmann has eliquently spoken about a mix of models that may be more ecologically sound- yet meet the ends of a changing
world.

There have been some really bad decisions made by our government for years. As I've said earlier the USA is a democracy and government is made up of people WE elect.

I live in St. Louis, home of Monsanto & Danforth....each now marketing their sustainability.....2000, I was on a CFSSA board at Mizzou that was defining what sustainable meant. If you look at the history of Organic, you see what happens if you build up a market share....
each are words
each are words that will lose their meaning

The USDA has a new initiative, "know your farmer, know your food"......GREAT! Let's see how it's handled, but it appears to be a leap forward.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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