Friday, January 14, 2011
Sunday, January 9, 2011
- Understated (not necessarily very "public") commitment to sourcing local, organic and sustainable food from local, family farms
- Emphasis on quality and relationships with suppliers, through well-respected distributors such as Veritable Vegetable and GreenLeaf as well as with some farms directly like Alhambra Valley Farms,
- Realistic and frank perspective on balancing quality/taste and sourcing locally. For example, Chow believes it can get top quality beef from Marin Sun Farms and dairy from Straus Family Creamery, and at the same time has not found a local quality, reliable sustainable pork vendor so they source from a small family farm in Iowa.
- People who are excited and care about not only providing a great product, but also with a commitment to running their business in a way that nurtures healthy relationships with the people that grow and produce the food they are buying
Saturday, January 8, 2011
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Saturday, January 1, 2011
So buying produce, meat, and eggs directly from the farmers' market makes it easy to know where a lot of the food eat is coming from. When I go to the Mountain View farmers' market, I know that Lucy takes care of the free range chicken and duck eggs that we cook in our omelettes, and Jim raises the grass fed cattle that becomes the beef that we put in our beef stew, and Paul has been taking care of the satsuma, nectarine and asian pear orchards that bear the fruit we enjoy. I have a lot of confidence that the food is, on the whole, produced sustainably and with care, and that if I have any questions, I know I can just ask. But what about the wheat in the spaghetti or pasta sauce that we buy at the farmers' market or grocery store, or the hot dogs that are served at my daughter's daycare or just about anything when we're eating out? How do I know if any of this is produced sustainably, or good or bad for me?
Well, it turns out that we can ask.
We can ask Santa Cruz Pasta Factory, and Steve will write me back telling me about the wheat/grain suppliers for the pasta that they make. And we can ask LunchMaster, who is the company who caters my daughter's lunches at daycare, and Felicia will tell me a little about their vendors. And if I happen to see an emphasis on local and organic on the menu at a restaurant, like I did at Chow, I can ask and have someone like Andrew email me back and tell me about the farms they source from directly or indirectly.
Last year, I took a big step in really shifting most of our grocery shopping to direct from the farmer, rancher or producer, primarily through shopping at farmers' markets (so much that more than half of our grocery bill is spent at local farmers' markets). This year, I want to continue in that vein as much as possible - and also not ignore the relationship (or lack thereof) with the food that we consume otherwise. I can ask the question of the people that we buy from, get more information, gauge the responses, and change our consumption and behavior accordingly. The more I know, I can make more informed choices about all the food we eat.
I want to know if the food is good to eat - and good to think. If one restaurant serves delicious food and cares about the relationship with the food, how it was grown, and where it came from, maybe I feel better about supporting them. And if that one vendor doesn't know or care where their food comes from, maybe I don't want to support them as much, or at all. Having that information is so empowering, and I'm going to spend this year asking those questions.