Posted by: patti | October 21, 2008

Food Chain

I’m reading (I’ll avoid the “devouring” pun, even though that is exactly what I am doing) Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, and I’m having two reactions to it.

First: I want a farm.  Now.  Failing that, I want my garden in Connecticut back, and those of you who know me remember how bored and unhappy I was in Connecticut — bored and unhappy for lots of reasons, but mostly because I didn’t have enough time in my fantastic garden.  My friend Ellen still talks about the soil there and worries that the cuttings she took when we sold the place are not worthy of her Stamford dirt.  Terence and I still taste the tomatoes.  Our zucchini and Swiss chard were the stuff of legend.

Second.  Kingsolver is making me afraid of every. single. thing. I put in my mouth.  My new neighborhood, in Upstate Manhattan, has a farmers market every Saturday, and it was never enough, but now it’s even less enough.  I generally like the closest supermarket, Fine Fare, but they do not carry much that is locally or organically grown, and I’ve asked, and they are resistant to adding more.  We’ve always bought organic when we could, we’ve always tried to stick to small, local markets instead of big chains, but Inwood is making it hard.  I’m about to become one of those people who rides the subway with bags of produce, because I’m going to have to start shopping the other farmers markets around the city.  Now that I know that there is a market on this island every day of the week, how can I possibly buy produce at Fine Fare?

Researching my new obsession on the interwebnets is not helping.  Flipping through the new issue of  Gourmet this weekend, I was caught by this article about Cornucopia Institute and their Dairy Report.  I went and read everything, and now I’m sick to my stomach.

Do you have any idea how much money I’ve spent on Horizon dairy products?  Me either, but I’m going to guesstimate with “a lot.”  It’s the ubiquitous organic brand in most stores, and I’ve been buying it — and honestly, enjoying it — for years.  And now I discover that it’s owned by agri-giant Dean Food and what I’ve been consuming might be organic, but might also be just a blend of whatever Dean’s got on hand.  And Dean is notorious for buying up small, family, organic farms — they’re not saving them, they are buying the right to put a happy cow on their label.  They are doing to mom-and-pop farms what Home Depot does to mom-and-pop hardware stores: eliminating the honest competition.

Shame on me for not doing my research sooner.

It’s almost Word Play Wednesday, so here’s a food-related anagram for you:

What herb shares the same letters as ARROGANT?



  1. Are you suggesting that the happy cow on the label is lying to me? What can I believe in now?

  2. TARRAGON is arrogant

  3. You win a cookie.

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