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Everything posted by StanSherman

  1. I've pondered the food system for many years. Personally, I don't think obesity is solely a food problem. Kids play with some electronic device almost constantly. Food surely play a big part in it, but in US households there is rarely someone available to prepare wholesome healthy meals. You could drop a CSA box on their doorstep and most of it would rot. It is a political subject. Better wording would be to try and keep the partisanship out. Actually with biofuels we've added energy policy into the debate.
  2. How far do most people have to travel to go to buy from a farmer? How far do they have to go to buy the fixed price goods? Many people from the US on this forum live in cities, but we have to travel almost two hours to get to any city as big as Ambato. (or close to it)
  3. Panaderia Canadiense: “Food policy is what determines, by and large, our food prices and many of the attitudes towards growers/growing.” I believe attitudes are made through personal interaction and/or marketing. Prices just generally piss people off. EatNopales: “industrialization needs cheap energy, cheap raw materials & subsidized infrastructure to make it economically feasible.” I really disagree. It may change social structure but it’s inherent value is productivity. Other countries have cheap labor. Is that economically feasible? “Less governed regions will become more the norm than the big government industrial welfare states of the 20th Century... in that environment farming will inevitably become less industrial more communal.” Where is the “farm labor” going to come from? Our current economy doesn’t give the populace the chance for parents to spend time with their kids or have a day of Sabbath together. How are they supposed to now grow food and learn what to do with this stuff?
  4. We had gotten way off topic in the price at the Farmers’ Market thread so I thought we’d start a separate discussion about food policy. Let’s talk about policy and try not to get political. Let’s share information and ideas in a manner that we can all learn something. There has been much talk about the problems with out food system and what our future has in store for us. With a tractor manual in one hand and food manifesto of your choice in the other, let’s try and learn more.
  5. We were at an Amish bulk store today and they are now stocking AP organic flour from http://www.montanaflour.com/. I've been using KA flour but I can only get it in 5 pound bags. Any experience with the Montana? I mostly make the country loaf from Tartine.
  6. Nopales, I'm not quite as pessimistic as you. In the future will patrons of the Ferry Plaza Market sip on $85 lattes while munching on their organic soylent green biscuits? Do you think we should open a thread on "food policy" to keep this thread from further drift? I believe it's a valuable discussion.
  7. Our heat kicked on this morning. We are supposed to have a dip down to 37 next week. The tomatoes are all in 2 gallon containers in a cold frame. They may end up there until Memorial Day. We've got some ham hocks, split peas and broth simmering for supper. We should be having peas and mint, but the peas aren't even in the ground yet.
  8. I wonder why anyone would buy at the supermarkets.
  9. I'd like the detail. What you think are the reasons for the price difference? Can normal farmers sell to the Supermarkets?
  10. Actually from my experience and knowledge there is no way California could become competitive in the egg business. (BTW the egg beaters are produced as a byproduct of hairline cracked shells. They have very advanced systems to detect the cracks. They then cull them for products like Egg Beaters) If listened to Michael Pollen and read many of his pieces. Unfortunately in the last five years we have gone further away from the US population actually being able to feed themselves with unprocessed foods. I was shocked when selling whole chickens at Farmers' Markets (whole is all that is allowed in CA) how many people with fancy kitchens equipped with Sub-Zeros and Wolf ranges have no idea how to handle a chicken.
  11. Absolutely, but in this part of the country they can grow corn better and cheaper than any place on earth. Unless they come up with a viable biofuel crop that can grow in zone 4 there is no viable alternative. I felt very similar to you until I actually went through a few seasons and observed how it actually works.
  12. In my area farmers don't have the choice to grow much other than feed stock. The season is too short and the beginning is very wet. A small percentage could be converted, but take the converse argument. How would Iowans get fruit if it were not for imports. We can grow apples, cherries, pears and a few others, but even fruits like pears are being left on the trees in California due to labor costs not shipping costs. Please don't take me wrong, We basically have a very nice CSA sized small farm, but we don't market our products. We give it away to other farmers in the area. We actually grow sweet corn for corn farmers. They in turn make sure we have all the pork, beef, chicken and compost we could ever want. Corn always gets the label of evil since it is overused in our food chain. There will most likely be a bubble in the corn land because of 2010 profits being so high. They are paying ridiculous prices for acreage now as the reinvest their money.
  13. Sometimes when a line is thrown at you, you gotta take it. It would be great if someone did a good dinner party show. Lot's of people really stress over it.
  14. EatNopales, According to UC Davis, California imports about 50% of their eggs (2008). I also know truck drivers that do the route. Corn is at 6.85 today and most farmers expect the subsidies are going to go away eventially. I choose the egg example because we grew organic pastured broilers and layers in California and now live in Iowa. I have easier access to actual numbers. One of the problems with using studies or references from academic studies is how dated they are. Corn subsidies per acre have been declining. For example, a family in this area with 6000 acres of corn received about 60K in 2009. With GR around $1200/acre it is hardly going to have any influence on planting. They will most likely by less equipment.
  15. I like mango with yogurt, blended with a pinch of cardamon. Juiced apples with a pinch of fresh rosemary.
  16. As we have all learned from Sandra Lee, tablescapes are important. I'll prolly watch it if it airs during news hours.
  17. Efficient for who? Farmers that sell at farmers' markets have generally lost profits as fuel prices have increased. Most farmers near large urban areas have 100-200 mile distances to a market. I ran some rough numbers on eggs from Iowa to California. Walmart has one of the pick-up stations on a large egg farm about 30 miles from here. They transport about 8500 dozen in one load. It cost about 35 cents a dozen at today's fuel prices. The alternative would be for markets in California to market local eggs. Unfortunately California can't grow the chicken chow nearly as efficient as Iowa so they would be importing more weight than just the finished product. In my Iowa egg example the waste is returned right back to the corn crops with minimal hauling. The OP refers to an article that cites how food is "cheaper" at the farmers' markets. They did not qualify with "other costs". Leopold also proposes that organic farming is cheaper than current practices in direct costs (not hidden). It is simply not believable when you really crunch the numbers.
  18. I stopped using anything but MAPP with my torches a while back. It lights easier, burns hotter and cleaner.
  19. In the US the "Farmers' Markets" was created to allow small farmers and home growers a way to market products without standardized labeling and packaging. The idea is that when you have the grower in front of you the packaging is not really necessary. Notwithstanding the abuses to the system, most products in the Northern US are not going to be a bargain this time of year. I have managed a market, sold at different markets and been involved in the politics. Usually our "profit" from a market comes from the trading we do with other vendors. I personally won't do the markets anymore because spending two days a week haggling over the price of an onion isn't worth it for me.
  20. We have a great Coop that has a large bulk section. I can grab all my spice, grain and dried fruit jars from the pantry and go top them off in the store. It's a huge savings with much less waste.
  21. You have to remember with chickens that there are birds for eating "broilers" and hens for eggs. Broilers are usually not in cages. The have 59,999 birds in one building. These are a Cornish Cross breed. They don't wander more than a few feet from the chicken chow. They are typically harvested as one building at seven weeks. They eat so much so fast that they will rarely make it to 8-9 weeks. When you see "free-range" it means there is a door left open and a few get lost outside. The most humane treatment is typically "pastured". Usually that is done with movable cages where the birds are moved over new grass daily.
  22. A few years back we were waiting for a table at Zaytinya in DC. Their pager didn't work so we never got called. When we approached the hostess she basically told us we were out of luck. We were pretty pissed off by then and walked across the street to RC. We had a great meal and actually felt wanted.
  23. I think we're going to have to find a more kind and gentle hobby like rugby. Last Friday we had 50mph winds that blew the garlic right out of the ground. Today we got 4 inches of snow.
  24. Sounds more like contract negotiation than anything else. I'm sure LA schools have a department that deals with media production.
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