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Are we being responsible?

post #1 of 4
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 at this time of year 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 season and can our own at home. Since when is canned food bad for you ?( Other than salt content, which the canneries would change under pressure.) The public schools here have introduced buffalo to the school menu with great success. We have several buffalo farms in the 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 for existing because they thought if they weren't here the dinosaurs would still be around. So now, are we fostering a mind-set where they will guily for eating a canned or frozen vegetable? Or that they did something wrong by eating chili that had canned tomatoes instead of "fresh", "local", (or for optimuml guilt) "not organic"? I'm afraid that's exactly what we're doing. Any thoughts?
post #2 of 4
tons of thoughts.....

One of our small school systems is working with a nutrition dept at a university to source local product....this year it's apples, potatoes & carrots.....there's a $300k grant involved and a commercial processing kitchen. The group sourcing the produce dropped the ball, the university is behind on sourcing equipment, the farmers are shaking their heads.......those of us that cook are looking in from the outside wondering what the hey is going on?! Why more local product is not used, why they didn't source shtuff in the prime of growing season, why #2 were not bought up.....
An outside group is coming into town cooking at a few private schools, it'll be interesting to see what their "local, hormone free, antibiotic free, organic" looks like....we are not Iowa nor WI, there are not nearly as many farms in our metro area as a few hundred miles north.

Canned works, cryovac works.....healthy less processed food with a mydrid of colors works.....
Years ago when my children were in elementary and secondary school I posted alot about "brown and neon" school food. Fries, chicken fingers, pizza....neon yogurt....:rolleyes::laser: actually I wanted the pissed off imotican....
Get soda outta schools, non-fruit juice crap too.

Ran into Ann Cooper aka lunch lady, in Chicago....she's working with Boulder schools now. Word through the grapevine is that Ann and Alice Waters are concentrating on national policies now.....just show us how to make it work in the midwest with winters ladies....we'll follow you.
cooking with all your senses.....
cooking with all your senses.....
post #3 of 4
It's disappointing to me that food marketing terms have become something that nobody even asks about. You're exactly right, just because it's canned or frozen doesn't mean it's bad. Foods laden with salt and preservatives are bad. Irradiated fruit, while not canned or frozen is bad. People are too hung up on words without knowing their meaning, and we're teaching children to just accept what is told them.

The near-by national breakfast chain restaurant (IHOP) has "farm fresh eggs" on their menu. Looking over my shoulder, there's the tractor trailer truck delivering their food. I don't think the massive distributor stopped at the farm to pick a few eggs.

I worked at a place years ago that served "She-Crab Soup". This is a very specific item made with the roe of female blue crabs. They used the fake Surimi crabmeat in it. You can call it "Cream of Seafood" if you want, but it's not "She Crab Soup"!

As always, Buyer Beware! We should empower children to ask "why", and not just accept what is told to them.
post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 
I posted on this forum by accident, but I'm glad I did as I am getting the feedback that I wanted. It just seems to me that there is a level of snobbery regarding the fresh/local/organic thing that has a holier-than-thou overtone. While I know what they are saying, and agree with it, it's a turn-off to me in that everyone is preaching the fresh/local thing without telling us how we are supposed to do that. When I was a kid, we planted a one acre garden. We raised nearly every vegetable that we used. We would pick tomatoes and can them, freeze corn, carrots, beans and whatever else. That's what we ate in the winter. But now people act like if you eat or serve something canned or frozen, you're somehow doing an injustice, and I have a problem with that. I run a seafood restaurant in the midwest. I buy frozen everything from general suppliers. I have people come in all the time and say they have had the best fish ever there and they can't believe I buy it frozen. People who have been to the Carribean and lived on Cape Cod. I think a lot of it is just plain snobbery, and I wonder how much damage we are doing with that attitude. I like canned peas, and I like frozen peas. They're different, but they both have qualities that I like. I compare it to cheese. You have cold cheese that tastes one way, melted cheese that tastes different, and toasted cheese that is different yet. Is one better than the other? Is one right and one wrong? I don't think so. They're different and and all have appreciative qualities. Anyway, you have provided thoughtful and good feedback. Thank you. And I really like that laser thing 'Shroomgirl!
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