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  1. I'm just going to piggyback here a little and ask: how far is Philly by train from NYC? How much would it cost to get there? I might have a couple of holes in my upcoming trip, and just wondered. I've never been there, and I know it's a cool place as long as you're not wearing the wrong team colors.
  2. It's weird to admit, as though I've done something wrong, but I did nurse my daughter that long. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," was my retort to my mother-in-law who would drawl, "Don't you THINK it's about TIME you weaned her?"Well, she was the most secure child I ever knew (still is), but I sure as heck never whipped out my boob in a restaurant. Of course, in Santa Cruz, that wouldn't have raised too many eyebrows.
  3. Wow. I'm not sure what to even say to this. So if walmart customers were skinnier and they had better lighting, the business practices would be less of an issue. Sorry, I hate walmart too but this is sort of offensive. ← Hey, I am overweight, but this isn't about THAT. She was just the embodiment of Jabba the Hutt. Some people are fat and they don't look fat. Some people look heavy and dark. She did. Very dark in the eyes, especially.
  4. I read that article too, I think, and I can't find it either. Here's a similar article, though. ← Did the article you saw have a photo of the zillion cows, with a shot of the Horizon cartoon logo cow, saying, "This is probably the only happy cow here"? Something like that? It was a filthy place, like the stockyards on I-5 that you can smell ten miles away in the summertime.
  5. I am very very afraid...of the people who don't realize how bad WalMart is. I stopped at one in American Canyon on my way to Napa last week...what an ugly hellhole. I did this deliberately, knowing I was entering a temple of evil, a place that destroys local economies. When I tell you I left screaming, believe me. It was filled with the most dronelike people, wandering blank-eyed down the aisles. Even though it was lit with charming fluorescent lighting, it appeared dark in there. I got in line behind a waddling woman with the worst case of biscuit poisoning I've ever seen. In an eerie déjà vu to the day before, she wanted to purchase gift cards. I was in a bit of a rush, and had only one item to pay cash for. (If I'd known she was going to take so long, I easily could have beat her lumbering butt to the cashier's stand, but I was being nice. Big mistake.) I said to the cashier, "I only have this one thing. Could I give her the cash and you ring it up with her stuff, so I can get out of here?" I was so polite, of course! Old ladies love me. The woman's fat face screwed up tightly, and she whined/hissed, "I don't want to do that!!!" I was absolutely dumbstruck. I said (and I have no shame about this, so don't try to make me feel bad!): "OH MY GOD, YOU HORRIBLE, MEAN OLD WOMAN! NO WONDER PEOPLE THINK WALMART IS SO EVIL! ACK!" and the cashier kind of stupidly mumbled (she might have had a lobotomy), "You c'n go over there and do the self-serve register if you wanna." Yes, I wanted to. That nasty old cow probably thinks she is a pious woman, but I'm here to tell you that WalMart f-r-e-a-k-e-d me out. So yes, avoid WalMart like the plague. It really is a horrible place with bad business practices, and I wish I could find the link to the terrible story I read about Horizon. I won't buy their milk anymore, but get my organic milk from other sources.
  6. LocalHarvest.org is your best source for all things related to farms, farmers market, organic/sustainable foodstuffs, and more. Just plug in your zip code. It's a national database with an amazing wealth of information.
  7. Well, thank goodness I finally made my way over here, to investigate your own "labor of love," Chef. Your thoroughness and care are extraordinary. Your sense of place is palpable, and your language is evocative. I have never had this kind of food, I don't think -- or if I have, it wasn't memorable. I am very much looking forward for an opportunity to try it, though I think I lack the courage to try it without a net, not knowing what it's supposed to taste like. I hope we can break bread together one day soon. Thank you for all this amazing hard work.
  8. How stoked am I? The food editor of a newspaper saw my blog and interviewed me about at length this week. It was a great interview, and she asked really good questions like these: • Have you always been a food person? (Short answer: No.) • What changed you? (Short answer: Maria, my neighbor when I was 19, who was such an amazing gardener and cook that she makes Martha look inept.) • Which blogs do you like most, and why? (They're starred on my blog. Short answer: they have to have good photography to make my greatest hits. I'm shallow that way. I won't read or stay at a blog with ugly photographs.) • What do you have in mind when you visit blogs? (Short answer: I just want to see what simpatico people are up to. I'll likely never meet Keiko, whose photographs are just gorgeous, but I love knowing that she devotes so much time to her beautiful creations: both cooking and the photographs.) • How did you choose farms? (Duh.) • How are the farmers responding to what you're doing? (They're throwing tomatoes at me...heh.) I had little preparation in the questions, but I believe I did well being interviewed, because I think about my work--and the greater context of it--all the time. I don't know when the piece is coming out, or if I will be folded in with other "food" bloggers or not. (I still don't really think of myself as a "food blogger.") Blogging is truly a devotion.
  9. Cool, Charles, and I couldn't agree more. Having photographed farms, farmers, and farmers markets for about five years now, I find that the farmers I know are some of the most interesting, thoughtful, and well-educated people I've ever known. They do what they do because they care so much, so I have yet to meet an apathetic or complacent farmer, either. I suspect you know exactly what I'm talking about. I am really looking forward to getting back East soon and meeting some of the farmers I know only by name in your neck of the woods. Next week, I'm going to New York, New Jersey, and possibly Vermont and New Hampshire to see what's up there. It would be so great if, instead of knowing who the stupid celebrity du jour is, or the latest sordid murder on national news, if people knew their local farmers and sang their praises. You might want to invest in a wheelbarrow. When the farmers find out that you're promoting them, they'll send you home with stuff. (Hint: show up at the end of the day and rent a forklift. ) Right on, dude.
  10. Farms grow food. Food feeds people. Agriculture is responsible for many things, including wine grapes, cacao beans, coffee beans, tea, and so on. But I don't consider a vineyard a farm, at least not for the definition I have been using when I tell people that I photograph and write about small farms. I don't consider winemakers farmers, even if they're farming morning, noon, and night. The issues that winemakers face are not related to the issues that farmers with CSAs, farmers markets, and so on, have to face. That is undeniable. Farmers, to me (and probably to most people), are people who are feeding the world. And while I love wine, it is a luxury item...does a $90 bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon have the same meaning or identity or purpose that a CSA box, filled with fruits, vegetables does? Nope. But anyone can believe anything they want to. Suit yourselves! Just don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining.
  11. Chardgirl, I was really hoping to see y'all mentioned in that USA Today article. Your newsletter is surely one of the best being produced, not only for the recipes (yay) but for the stories Andy tells, and the guest writers you include. How long have you been doing it now? I just want to add praise for LocalHarvest.org, which is VERY local to ChardGirl and me. The interface is very attractive and user-friendly, and I have recommended that site easily a thousand times in the years since I found out about it. I hope to write about its founder, Guillermo Payet, on my farm blog soon. He is a native of Peru who now lives in Santa Cruz. NOTE: even if you don't belong to their CSA, you can sign up for the Two Small Farms newsletter, produced by Chardgirl et al, via this website: free newsletter. It arrives in your in-box, and it's not only a delicious read, but it's entertaining. I've been on the list, though not a member of the CSA, for years. (Apologetic note: I don't cook regularly enough, or for enough people, to belong to a CSA. Instead, I go to the farmers market twice a week or so and "spread the love around," buying from four or five farmers. But I love CSAs, and I love reading about what people do with their loot.)
  12. "Everyone" in restaurants isn't taking notes and photos, Robyn. And there is always someone to be offended by someone else, in this world, it seems. I was being sarcastic when I said I'm shameless, as I don't think that what I do is shameful in any regard. Nor do I didn't let it bother me too much if someone at the next table is acting umphy. I'm as discreet as I can be, and if there's a camera on the table, BFD. No one compelled to read all the reports and blogs that people are creating, are they? The Moleskine (pronounced "mol-a-skeen'-a"--it has nothing to do with the skin of moles) pocket journal I linked to upthread is a really nice size, and the paper is delicious. However I confess to being a stationery and pen junkie. They're wonderful little books with a great history among artists and writers, and I love when people recognize them.
  13. Happily, I am shameless. I carry around a mini Moleskine journal (Moleskine ruled pocket journals--they come in sets of 3) with me, and I will write during the course of my meal. A few times I've asked waiters to write down the name of a wine or dish, and they graciously do so. Recently this resulted in several comped tastes of wines by a waiter who just enjoyed how into the meal I was. He not only brought wines to match the courses, but wrote their names in my little book. I have a mini-tripod for tabletops (it's about 5" tall, with flexi-legs), and have become unselfconscious about photographing food without a flash (WITHOUT. A. FLASH.) because I just don't care what someone at the next table thinks. The camera is noticeable if you're the sort of person to notice what people at the next table are doing--but since I don't make a big deal about it, and only spend a few moments with it during the course of a meal, I can't imagine it would really bother someone else. But that same scenario with a flash? I'd be irritated. I'm very low-key about the whole thing, and I think people are more used to folks having cameras and pens in restaurants now, because there are so many travelers who not only keep journals, but who share their reports online at various travel or food sites. Much is in your attitude, I think. If I look like I'm working, maybe it's because I'm working. There are ways to be invisible, but you have to learn how that's done.
  14. tanabutler

    Dinner! 2005

    Heh, this is like, "What did you make for dinner?" "Reservations!"Me, too! What I didn't make for dinner was the chef's tasting at Manresa. Yum, yum, and how the chef got me to love foie gras is an ongoing saga with multiple happy endings. (Ending when the fork lands in my mouth, that is.)
  15. I worked for years photographing people who go to the farm dinners...I am quite serious when I say that dozens, if not hundreds, seemed surprised to see food that had dirt on it. I am quite certain that some of them had never gotten their shoes dusty in their lives, and equally certain that many had never set foot in a garden.So I like your idea (no surprise, considing the subject of my new blog, in tagline below). I would not have hesitated to tell the children myself to stop torturing the fish. That's what "it takes a village to raise a child" means. It's up to all adults to model good behavior, and if the parents take offense, it's because clueless people hate having their faults brought to the light. Sorry you suffered, and good for you for sharing the story.
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