Ruminating on the extraordinary bounty and accessibility of food in this country, I reflected on how locked-down consumers’ buying habits might bring about significant – and needed – change in the American food system.
Consumers’ increasing practice of buying local fresh fruit and vegetables – supporting local farmers – is leading governments to increase localization of their food supplies to decrease dependence on global food chains. It needs to be a sustainable transition – and sustainability is a big subject.
The flip side of the food equation is that many agri-businesses’ overuse of the land benefits their bottom lines but damages local air, water and soil systems. Sustainable practices to restore and perpetuate these systems are critical.
As a confection company owner, I’ve made commitments to purchase key staples from regional suppliers:
- Cremerie Sweet Cream European-Style Butter from Larsen’s Creamery in Oregon;
- 72% cacao chocolate from Guittard Chocolate Co in San Francisco;
- heavy cream and half-and-half from Sunshine Dairy-Alpenrose in Portland;
- flours and grains from Bob’s Red Mill in Milwaukie, Oregon;
- artisan cheese from Northwest cheesemakers.
We have the luxury of accessibility and opportunity; that is, the wealth of high-quality regional products and the resources to purchase them. I have the added benefit of using these quality staples in our home kitchen at ~60% of the cost of grocery store retail.
Purchasing regionally strengthens local economies and reduces transportation cost – food miles – so companies, consumers and the environment benefit. In all honesty, these are easy choices.
Ruminating again on the luxury of accessibility and the true cost of cheap food…
The ear of Nature
listens to what is asked of it.
It must be the same act of intense and unfettered listening
as when one discloses her deepest secret.
Is holding the health of the land naïve?
This is a conversation about quality. We each have the power to create profound and large-scale change in our food systems by supporting regional companies whose commitment is already to us.
The quality of Essential Confection products reflects these choices. Mini Essential Butter Cake, showcasing local European-style butter, is a perfect finish or gift for the upcoming spring holiday season. Order here:
How has your commitment to sourcing food changed? What action will you take to promote the best products and growing practices you know about?