whole food “local” honey–not local! Oranges in W.PA?

Local food seems easy enough to define. Or at least define what it’s not! Shipping bees across the country and then selling the honey as “local” is pretty misleading! And pretty impossible in any definition of the word in this case–orange honey in Pittsburgh??!

Visited our newest neighborhood Whole Foods the other day. It’s a nice big store with a great beer cafe! We’ve been waiting a long time for it to open. Unfortunately it’s exactly equidistant to as the other Whole Foods in Pittsburgh. Sigh.

Taking our first tour through we noted some different items. And we noticed a lot of signage. Everyone is on the Local bandwagon these days, and Whole Foods is using a lot of Local tags on its shelves. To wit:

whole foods wexford PA marketing orange honey as local!

Yep. That label shows the apiary has locations in NJ and FL. So, um wait a minute here. It’s interesting to think that New Jersey–around 8 hours away qualifies as “local.” Clearly not a 100 miles version of “local”.

But the real problem–dudes, listen–since when are we growing oranges in Pittsburgh!!! Sheesh. Get real Whole Foods!!

As for the company–I do like the fact that this label gives such a thorough picture of how the honey was produced. Itinerant bees shipped around the country. You know sort of, what you’re getting!


sustainable seafood part two
April 24, 2012, 3:29 pm
Filed under: food, food issues, grocery stores | Tags: , , , ,

I guess the reason I posted about our company dinner was that the topic came to mind again recently with the news about whole foods’ decision to stop selling unsustainable fish. Here’s the story on huffington. Pretty great that they’re not going to sell tuna anymore. Also pretty sad isn’t it? Can’t believe how fast we got to this point–and how slow we were to do anything about it. I hope other retailers (and pursuant to my last post–caterers and restaurants) will take note!

In honor of no more tuna–may I direct your attention to the Turdacres take on mock tuna salad?

sustainably dining– options and catering
April 20, 2012, 2:07 pm
Filed under: food issues, grocery stores, meat | Tags: , , , , , ,

In honor of earth day, I’ve been thinking (again and here) about the general ungreeness of catering for business meetings. We’re having a big dinner for fancy guests at work. It’s a biennial event, and it’s held at the University Club. This year the dining options came in doodle form. The way it was sent out, you could see all the options that everyone else picked. And here’s how it broke down:

10–Herb Crusted Filet of Beef
17–Blackened Red Snapper
7–Vegetable Napoleon

Ok. So check it out..#1 that’s a lot of veggie options! Go team!! We could talk at length about the quality of said option–a stack of eggplant and zucchini most likely? Not too exciting. These veggie diners must be committed. Filet of Beef sounds more appetizing. And it got a bunch of votes–at least it sounds like a fancier option–herb crusted? But the 2-1 winner–red snapper.

It’s pretty impressive to see that so many people are not choosing meat! It seems like we are indeed winning the battle to have people become more mindful and eat less meat!

However, red snapper. Not too impressive. This is a fish that is on the Monterrey Bay fish to avoid list. It is overfished and in decline.

It makes me so sad that people just aren’t yet aware of how their desire to be healthy–and eat less red meat–impacts wild fish stock! I’d rather that people eat the beef, as at least that is farmed–and we can make more.

This dinner is held at a university with a bunch of academics–if these people (whole foods shoppers all, I imagine) don’t know, then who does?

I’m glad to see that whole foods is making some choices in the fish they carry, but we need to find a way to get caterers (and diners) make these choices too!

My best pal’s wedding is a nice case in point. To be held at a downtown restaurant, the dinner has a veggie option but also feature arctic char. This is a fish I really know zero about, but the Monterey Bay list helpfully informed me that this a good choice! Whew!! Arctic char, unlike its name suggests, is not actually from the arctic, but is farm-raised. And unlike farm-raised salmon, it is primarily grown in-land–so the risks of contaminating wild fish stocks is pretty darn low!

The Monterrey Bay Fish List is a pretty cool resource. It’s neat to see that a museum is able to be an agent of change! Go to theirwebsite and you can download a regionally appropriate pocket guide to seafood!

cocks comb

Sometimes you have a day of strangeness at the acres.

Yesterday was that day. Spent the morning with the plumber. He’s a nice guy, and he loves chickens. He has 25 of his own. Correction: He started with 25. Now he has 10. On a one acre lot. He talked about losing them in traffic, losing them to hawks, losing 5 to the 2 jack russell terriers next door, losing them to rooster attacks. Ugh not pretty. Then he was talking about how he wound up with 5 roosters. Warning–if a lady at a farm show is selling straight run and you want pullets–do not buy!! Especially when she says, hey i’m really good at sexing chicks. She used a a key and a thread, he said. I’m thinking huh? about all the ways you might use those things to sex a chick, and then he says, yeah the males will run over to the shiny object. OMG!! Yep he bought it, and wound up with 5 roosters, who later terrorized his kids, jumped on the back of his neighbor, attacked each other, ugh, terrible.

So he has to kill them. No one wants them. He tries. But no one wants them. They’re 2 year old roosters. And they’re mean. So he dispatches them with a hatchet, and then has his wife cook them up. He said it was so traumatic (and this from a guy who gets most of his protein from deer that he bow hunts and dresses himself??!) that he will never forget it.

Ugh. That’s for real man.

So…on to dinner. Or, the unreal! We have a work dinner with an out of town guest and we go to a fancy new place called Salt. Except that it’s NA/CL, you know. And that really sets us up. This is one of these places with lots of the latest ingredients and techniques going on. Foams, home preserved weird things, no substitutions on the menu. No tea on the menu, because they can’t get local tea, no decaf coffee on the “coffee programme” but the coffee (tasmanian peaberry in a french press) is locally roasted so that’s ok. Anyhow, lots of stories about lots of ingredients. Peach shrub? Apparently a shrub is not a bush but an old method of preserving fruit and vinegar to make into a soda syrup (this one was unripe georgia peaches). On and on it goes. These waiters earn their keep for sure. And then the mains menu features cockscomb. Guy next to me says, what’s cockscomb? I say well you know there’s a flower called cockscomb, but that’s not what they’re serving. It’s you know, the floppy thing on a chicken’s head!!! Ohhhhh. The waitress informs us, yes that’s what it is, we cook it for three days!! Oh, you’d have to, says me. Sheesh. I think someone ordered it. It came on a rectangular plate as a row of jewel like pink slabs. I believe all the offending pointy bits had been cut off.

Sniff sniff, all those cute little points that help you identify who’s who. To tell the difference between spanky and knuckles our two barred rocks. Sniff sniff. At least five little chicken heads served to one guest at an overwrought pretentious restaurant in the burgh. Sigh.

We’re so precious, I know. And living in a precious time. Here’s a funny video that captures some of this. It’s pretty funny!! And yes we actually have TWO of those shopping bags featured at the end. Picked up during our visit to San Fran in the spring! No prius here, but we have that weekly parking lot experience for sure!! (Also the 80.00 for six items thing too. sheesh)

Finally of course this whole evening reminded me terribly of Portlandia. What a great show. I just heard that they’re being picked up for another season. Last night’s dinner indicates that there is still a lot of crazy material from our precious yuppy world.

how to make a milk brand fashionable
October 11, 2010, 2:59 pm
Filed under: food issues, grocery stores

Not sure they really succeeded, but it’s sort of a funny idea.

eggs in denmark
October 2, 2010, 5:48 pm
Filed under: chickens, food issues, grocery stores, travels | Tags: , , , , ,

I always like to check out grocery stores while travelling, and now that we have chickens, we have to make a special stop in the egg department. So, in Copenhagen, here’s the deal.

organic eggs in denmark

they actually look like ours! various sizes and colors!

We checked out a few grocery stores. The shelves at this one (a more pricey chain) were kind of bare by the time we got there (around 6 pm). But they have several different kinds of eggs. Not as many varieties as we saw in Australia, but several. Interestingly they sell a lot of six packs! And when you hear the price you will understand why.

23 DKK comes to the big old $4.20 USD. That’s for a half dozen people!!! Yikes. Our friends were shocked that you could get a dozen for under a dollar over here. Alas, you have to expect that they’re probably tainted and/or toxic, but hey, at least they’re super cheap right??! : (

grocery stores
January 16, 2010, 5:34 pm
Filed under: food issues, grocery stores | Tags:

One of my favorite things to do when I’m traveling is to study the local grocery stores. Is that weird? Maybe. But you can learn a lot!

For example, the australians are pretty advanced in terms of their “fry” products. Check it out.

i think i'd choose the frymasta

It was also interesting to see that vegemite gets so much shelf space. And notice the cheese whiz type stuff to the right.

tube, handipack, or jar?

Finally, the eggs. First off, they’re on a shelf and NOT refrigerated. What?! Eggs aren’t poison? I feel so misled! Second, notice how many kinds of eco-friendly options there are. Interesting!

eggs next to the canned goods?

free range, barn-laid or organic smiley face?