Farm to Fable Part 1: The restaurant's chalkboard makes claims as you enter from the valet parking lot. At the hostess stand, a cheery board reads, “Welcome to local, farm-fresh Boca.” Brown butcher paper tops tables and lettuces grow along a wooden wall. In a small market case, I see canned goods from here and produce from somewhere. Check the small print: blackberries from Mexico and blueberries from California. With the tagline “Local, simple and honest,” Boca Kitchen Bar Market was among the first wave of farm-to-table restaurants in Tampa Bay to make the assertion “we use local products whenever possible.” I’ve reviewed the food. My own words are right there on their website: “local, thoughtful and, most importantly, delicious.” But I’ve been had, from the snapper down to the beef. [more inside]
"Honestly? I've never had more fun cooking. Or eating. I didn't want to write this piece; it's almost humiliating to hear myself talk this way. But there it is. I'm in Berkeley. I'm lucky to be here. I may stay." Mark Bittman talks about California produce. [more inside]
"The semantic mission for me is to have “vegetarian” become an adjective that describes food rather than a noun labeling a person." An interview with Mollie Katzen, author of the iconic Moosewood Cookbook. (Includes a recipe for Vegetarian Tan-Tan Noodles from her newest cookbook, The Heart of the Plate: Vegetarian Recipes for a New Generation.)
The Take is a 2004 film [~90m] by Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis about the reclaimed factory movement (worker-managed co-operatives) in Argentina. It's presented here in 9 parts: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9. Also in a convenient playlist for easy viewing. [more inside]
Hope withers on the vine. A look at daily life among the produce workers in Mecca, California.
Your unborn child as produce - You'll never look at chard the same way again.
Mutatoes is a photographic collection by artist Uli Westphal of non-standard fruits and vegetables found at Berlin groceries and farmers' markets. The distorted, the discolored, the bumpy, the stumpy, the coiled and the conjoined all get star treatment. (Flash site)
Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce. Minimize your chemical exposure in the produce aisle. PDFs : download a pocket version for your purse or wallet; en Español tambien.
"We think of an orange as a constant, but in reality it's not." Canadian study finds that fruits and vegetables have lost much of their nutritional value in the last decades--potatoes, for example, have lost 100% of their Vitamin A. The reason, it appears, is mass production and a market that values appearance over substance. Is this symptomatic of deeper problems within a system where produce travels so far before reaching the consumer? Here in B.C., for example, the stores are full of California produce, despite the fact that we grow much the same fruits and vegetables locally.
If you're lucky, it's not too late to sign up with a Community Supported Agriculture (?) program in your area. Imagine getting more fresh, often organic, locally-grown produce (of sorts familiar and un-) each week from late spring through fall than you probably eat in a month! Some friends did this in college and I was thrilled to find a farm near me this year. Is there one near you?