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Alarm! Chowhounds fight back! Please!

Peter B. Wolf Jul 7, 2001 07:51 AM

Just came across an Article/Essay: http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/feat...
"Mean Cuisine" by Greg Critser
This writer is disgusting and has no understanding about quality eating. The above site allows and encourages to comment back. Please everyone do.
Thanks, Peter

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  1. d
    Dee Gustay RE: Peter B. Wolf Jul 7, 2001 09:28 AM

    Peter, I came to the board to post that same url, which was one of aldaily.com's new links today. As they do so often, aldaily picked a provocative article. I do my best to frequent the greenmarkets and support local farmers--win/win in that maybe I help them and I eat good food. I buy organic when I can believing that it's better for me and that sustainable agriculture is better for the environment. I didn't find Critser terribly convincing in his stats, figuring that there are other stats that argue differently. Seems like there always are. (Also, it was difficult to tell if he thinks "Betty Crocker" was a real person or not. Seems like he might have, which is a credibility problem from the start.)

    Where I had to give him some credit, though, was on the affordability factor. I think it is a bit elitist for a "foodie" to proclaim that we don't pay enough for our food (accurate, in the sense that small farmers deserve more) when so many people have to stretch every penny just to put something nutritious on the table. Personal and environmental health issues aside, "organic" is a luxury that many people can't afford. As a chowhound on a tight budget, I understand the difficulty in balancing "good" food with my pocketbook. And I think this is a real dilemma for proponents of organic/sustainable agriculture. How to work to make what we believe to be the healthiest alternative for humans and the planet a realistic option for the majority of people.

    Link: http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/feat...

    2 Replies
    1. re: Dee Gustay
      Melanie Wong RE: Dee Gustay Jul 8, 2001 01:56 AM

      I also applaud the author for his efforts to point out the new snobbery. Fortunate to live in the Garden of Eden of Sonoma County, I too prefer to buy at our farmers markets. Yet, this is a luxury even here. I've never seen a stand that accepts food stamps, for instance, from our seasonal ag workers.

      1. re: Melanie Wong
        Brandon Nelson RE: Melanie Wong Jul 9, 2001 01:42 AM

        Hi Mel!

        There are some farmers markets with food stamp authorized vendors. I don't recall what directory I read it in, but remember the detail because it caught me by surprise.


    2. c
      Cliff Abrams RE: Peter B. Wolf Jul 7, 2001 10:28 AM

      In short, a crummy article with little understanding of either food, those who like food and eating, cooking, sustainable resources, agriculture, etc. Fight back? How?

      9 Replies
      1. re: Cliff Abrams
        Jason Perlow RE: Cliff Abrams Jul 7, 2001 11:11 AM

        I dont have a problem with this article. I think he's right by saying the anti GM food people are going way overboard.

        Any technology that gets produce and ingredients on my table cheaper is a good one in my opionion -- provided it isnt actually harmful to people. And current research is totally inconclusive that GM food is any more harmful to us than organic food.

        FWIW I belong to an organic produce co-op, but not because I am afraid of GM food -- because I dont want pesticides, which will kill me a lot faster than some genetically engineered tomato or corn.

        1. re: Jason Perlow
          Peter B. Wolf RE: Jason Perlow Jul 7, 2001 11:28 AM

          Of all persons, Jason Perlow, your comment makes me think again whether you really know any difference in taste within today's foods. Darn it! Apples do not taste like apples, meats do not have the same typical meaty flavors, strawberries have no taste, and all canned goods, as well as packaged items have more flavor enhancers than the "essence corridor" in New Jersey can produce, simply because no natural taste is left in the raw item. Let's face it, average Mr.& Mrs. America goes more for looks than than taste (thats in food - not personal). Read "Fast Food Nation" again. Eating has never been a cultural undertaking nor a priority in the US. Peter.

          1. re: Peter B. Wolf
            Jason Perlow RE: Peter B. Wolf Jul 8, 2001 09:48 AM

            I find your insinuations rather insulting.

            Not only do I know what good vegetables and fruits taste like, I -grow- my own organically in addition to being married to a regional coordinator of a prominent produce co-op.

            nevertheless I agree with the author in his assessment that control of what we eat belongs with the consumer and not with the food elite.

            1. re: Jason Perlow
              John Piekarski RE: Jason Perlow Jul 9, 2001 11:57 AM

              If what we eat should be up to the consumer, how come the agribusiness lobby spends so much money fighting to prevent us from knowing what's in our food?

              1. re: John Piekarski
                Jason Perlow RE: John Piekarski Jul 9, 2001 12:03 PM

                Theres evil on both sides of the equation.

                1. re: John Piekarski
                  Greg Spence RE: John Piekarski Jul 9, 2001 01:45 PM

                  Exactly how much money does the agribusiness lobby spend in this arena, John? I've got several friends who are commercial farmers in the Rio Grande Valley here in Texas. They happen to care a great deal about both the quality of their product and about the land that produces that product. They'd be happy to let you come and inspect their operations, if you're interested in the truth. I'd gladly arrange it.

                  Jason, you're right on the mark with this one. Please continue to carry the banner; you're doing a great job.

                  1. re: Greg Spence
                    Jason Perlow RE: Greg Spence Jul 9, 2001 02:13 PM

                    Well, I'm not fond of waving banners but there are areas of grey on both sides. There are consortiums of commercial farmers, and then there are huge companies like ADM which invest a lot in things like genetics and pesticide research, and have a lot to lose if public sentiment doesnt go their way. People are fickle and stupid, and dont quite understand the ramifications of technology or what good application of technology is. On the other end of the spectrum you got megacorps who really dont care a rats ass about people too.

                    We have a right to cheap and plentiful food, but we also have a right to know what the hell goes in it.

                    1. re: Jason Perlow
                      Greg Spence RE: Jason Perlow Jul 9, 2001 03:45 PM

                      I only meant to suggest that you were carrying the banner of balanced thought and good sense. I also have feelings that fall on both sides of these issues.

                      By the way, the much maligned ADM is not really a "culprit" in the area of seed or product production. They mainly procure, process and market. The real "offender" would be Monsanto, who leads the market in genetically engineered seed and agrichemicals. Yes, ADM misdirected some corn not approved for human consumption, but you can bet that corn was developed by Monsanto.

                      And yes, we all have the right to know what we're putting into our bodies. Simply refuse to buy what products fail to label to your own standard. That's the strongest vote a consumer can have.

                      1. re: Greg Spence
                        Jason Perlow RE: Greg Spence Jul 9, 2001 04:07 PM

                        I only meant to suggest that you were carrying the banner of balanced thought and good sense. I also have feelings that fall on both sides of these issues.

                        -- No offense taken.

                        By the way, the much maligned ADM is not really a "culprit" in the area of seed or product production. They mainly procure, process and market. The real "offender" would be Monsanto, who leads the market in genetically engineered seed and agrichemicals. Yes, ADM misdirected some corn not approved for human consumption, but you can bet that corn was developed by Monsanto.

                        -- Yeah, I was using ADM as sort of a generic term for these megacorps, Monsanto is a big supporter of the kind of lobbies mentioned earlier.

        2. j
          Jim Dorsch RE: Peter B. Wolf Jul 8, 2001 06:53 AM

          I enjoyed the article.

          It's pretty easy to pick apart some of the arguments of the chefs the author interviewed. They believe we should all eat organic, when it's clearly unaffordable to the majority of the earth's population. They believe small farmers should have special dispensation to run businesses that don't make economic sense. They fret about wasting our planet's scarce resources while they jet about to their restaurant openings and celebrity events. They make ideological pronouncements about how billions of poor people should do their farming, when all these people want to do is put some food in their bellies. All this talk about what's best for the masses while they operate their exclusive eateries.

          1. b
            Bob Martinez RE: Peter B. Wolf Jul 8, 2001 01:50 PM

            Peter, I thought Critser made a number of valid scientific and political points. While I respect your right to disagree, such disagreement should be based on specific counter-arguments, not raw emotion. Plastering 3 exclamation points in your original title and using pharases like "This writer is disgusting and has no understanding about quality eating." is not the stuff of a rational response.

            1. f
              fladd RE: Peter B. Wolf Jul 10, 2001 01:10 PM

              This seemed like a well reasoned and well written article to me. He presented both sides of the argument and allowed a great deal of space for opponents of his point of view to express themselves. I think that his secondary point - that there is middle ground room for compromise among people of goodwill - to be a good one. I also think that he has a point - the organics movement has some elements of elitism and snobbery in it. I don't agree with everything he says in this piece, but he raises some interesting points that definitely deserve further discussion and thought.

              38 Replies
              1. re: fladd
                Brandon Nelson RE: fladd Jul 11, 2001 12:46 PM


                I'd call it poorly reasearched and chock full of errors/ dishonesty.

                The G.M.O industry claims the products (I prefer not to call them fruits or vegetables since they may carry animal D.N.A.) it makes are enough like their tradtional conterparts they shouldn't require a label. I disagree, but let's assume this to be true for a moment. They also want to be able to patent the products they create. If a G.M. tomato is , as claimed, a tomato, they can't patent it. Nature made the tomato, not say.... Monsanto. They can't have it both ways. The motives have little to do with integrity. It's the consumers choice, not the biotech industries. They claim there has been no substantial health problem caused by their products. That staement is impossible to prove because it's impossible to trace. The consumer can't tell you where , when, or if they had G.M. food because they don't know. The G.M.O. wants to hide from the ultimate effects, good or ill, of their products.

                Critser claimed there has never been an illusration of genetic drift from G.M. products. Wrong. San Francisco magazine did a piece last year that included an instance of genetic drift from the same starlink corn Critser defends.

                In his praise of golden rice Critser overlooks the obvious. People that don't have the resources to buy or produce enough food to avoid starvation probably don't the resources to buy or produce enough golden rice. The problem isn't a lack of resources, it's a lack of distribution.

                Critser paints Alice Waters as an elitist bully who is threatening the economic future of her meat supplier. I don't see any evidence of Critser interviewing Joe Niman, the "victim" of Waters "elitism". In an aritcle writen in Wine Spectator last year Niman, owner of Niman Ranch (Chez Pannise's meat supplier) gratefully praise Waters for making his products some of the most sought after in the food industry. Niman has been on the forefront of responsible sustainable agriculture for years.

                If Critser did some comparison shopping he would find that organic produce to can be found at comparable prices to traditional fare. If he chooses to make his comparison based only on operationns like Wild Oates and Whole Foods he is purposefully slanting his results. Anyone involved in the industry knows that these chains are among the most expensive to shop. I live in Napa and work in Mill Valley. Critser mentioned both, and knows little about either of them. I have worked in retail produce all of my adult life. Critser knows little about the industry.

                Critser has an agenda. I don't know if he has a hill of Monsanto stock or not. I do know that he wants to point fingers and lay blame. He wants us to believe that those who strive for great food are the new incarnation of Marie Antionette. Mr Critser fails to realize I can have my bread (or cake!) and eat it too.


                1. re: Brandon Nelson
                  fladd RE: Brandon Nelson Jul 11, 2001 03:54 PM

                  I'm not saying that I agree with all his points, just that he raises some interesting food for thought and deserves to be heard out. The venom with which this article has been greeted smacks of closemindedness. I think that there IS room for dialog on this topic between people of good will. I certainly wouldn't want to put any more money in Monsanto's pocket, but I don't concede that all getetic engineering of food staples is automatically a bad thing. I think that there is a lot of potential for good there as well as the danger of blander food, more powerful corporations and mutant weeds.

                  1. re: fladd
                    Brandon Nelson RE: fladd Jul 11, 2001 07:34 PM

                    Hey Dude

                    Don't get the impression I'm on your case. I'm not. I have a pretty moderate view on G.M.O.'s myself. We need the research. But we also need some regulation.


                  2. re: Brandon Nelson
                    rjka RE: Brandon Nelson Jul 11, 2001 05:22 PM

                    I have never seen organic produce at the same price as conventional produce in any supermarket in the suburban
                    New York area, except maybe as a special promotion.

                    1. re: rjka
                      Mike Zurer RE: rjka Jul 11, 2001 06:20 PM

                      Absolutely correct. Supermarkets are part of the problem. There are a lot of places around the country where you can buy direct from organic farmers. Sometimes you have to go to them. In urban centers such as NYC and SF they will deliver to you.

                      It takes more work to find it, and you have to be willing to only eat fruit and vegetables which are in season.

                      I find it to be sufficiently more work that I have never consistently shopped that way.


                      1. re: rjka
                        e.d. RE: rjka Jul 11, 2001 06:43 PM

                        Duh!! Of course organic will be more expensive in a supermarket geared toward the mass delivery of corporate produce. But anyone who has been fortunate enough to live in places like Napa or Monterey and has shopped in the local farmers' markets knows that a person can buy in-season organic produce of incredible quality for LESS than the cost of similar non-organic products from a supermarket. Sometimes much less. Imagine fresh organic baby lettuces for 99 cents to a buck fifty a pound. Heirloom tomatoes for a dollar a piece. Huge heads of just picked lettuce for a dollar. Not to mention fish purchased from the fishermen and sausages bought from the sausage maker. I think Critser completely ignores Alice Waters' normal emphasis on buying what is naturally fresh and available in her area. The best and freshest does not always have to be the most expensive, if one deals directly with the farmers. Much of the cost of our food goes for shipping, preserving, and warehousing out-of-season and/or out-of-the-area produce.

                        Nonetheless, most people currently do not have the option of buying direct from growers and producers. And, sorry to say, many organic items in a supermarket are both more expensive and not as good as non-organic items. Whether we like it or not, most of us are stuck with what the supermarkets want to sell us. I, for one, am not convinced that genetically engineered stuff is necessaarily any worse than other foods we eat. After all, almost nothing that we grow is "natural" in the sense of being a naturally occuring species. Corn, wheat, apples, hogs, lettuces, tomatoes etc. etc. are the products of centuries of cross-breeding, selective breeding, budding, grafting and all sorts of other "unnatural," human processes. Still, since genetic engineering is so new, it would be nice if genetically engineered products were labeled so we at least would know what we are getting.

                        I also think that we need to focus on the big picture--that it is the rapidly increasing human population that is putting pressure not only on our food resources, but upon all the natural systems of this little planet we call home. All of us who care about what we eat, what we drink, what we see, what we breathe, and how we live, should work to try to limit human population growth.

                        1. re: e.d.
                          Brandon Nelson RE: e.d. Jul 11, 2001 07:56 PM


                          It's not necessarily "mass deleivery of corperate product" that makes places like Whole Foods and Wild Oates pricey. In fact Whole Foods and Wild Oates, to stick to my examples, sell a lot of stuff from local growers. In fact they make a point of it. They are simply geared and merchandised to sell to high income customers. They do very well doing it.

                          You're with me on the whole "direct from the source' angle though. You can buy vine ripened organic tomates at the farmers market for less than the greenhouse grown "cluster" tomatoes all summer. The same is true with lettuce, herbs, mesclun, soft squashes, stonefruit, and berries. During the monthes the open air markets are open Tanya and I get more than half of what we eat there. We get to taste and purchase varieties we will never find in a supermarket. Fresh Blenheim apricots, to fragile to go through the long process of field to supermarket. Ditto Champagne peaches and Ambrosia muskmelons.

                          I'm glad E.D. is another hound who has found what great tastes and values can be found outside the supermarket. I hope more hounds find their way.


                          1. re: Brandon Nelson
                            berkleybabe RE: Brandon Nelson Jul 11, 2001 08:16 PM

                            I think this is a very coastal argument in some ways. The vast geographic middle of the country is dependent on very seasonal food. We don't have summer all year, we actually have snow and cold and, unless you have a hydroponic set-up, probably don't have access to locally grown produce as you might in the sunbelt. "Locally grown and produced" is cabbage and potatoes, thank you. The GM food is scary -I don't think fish DNA belongs in a tomato, but I also think golden rice is a kind of salvation for people whose resources are below life-sustaining. It's easy to dismiess supermarket food, but the bulk of the population who buy food and don't eat out three to four times a week, depend on it. So start the conversation at that level. High level chefs and restaurants will always get the primo level foods and can pass the cost onto the customer who will pay it for the aesthetic, and culinary experience. The conversation needs to get down to the nitty gritty of a family of four, with two parents (or less) working, who have to have affordable, safe and tasty food on an every day level. Many of us, the majority of the country, don't have access to the year-round Santa Monica farmers market--I wish I did. . The issue is..."That's nice. What about the rest of us?"

                            1. re: berkleybabe
                              ironmom RE: berkleybabe Jul 11, 2001 09:24 PM

                              Fresh food in season at the farmer's market here costs a bunch more than in the supermarket.

                              And figs, you say? I saw them at the yuppiemart last week @ 50 cents apiece.

                              1. re: berkleybabe
                                David "Zeb" Cook RE: berkleybabe Jul 11, 2001 10:38 PM

                                Berkleybabe, I agree.

                                I've been reading this thread with amusement and some sparks of irritation. A previous poster on this thread said "But anyone who has been fortunate enough to live in places like Napa or Monterey..." I hope that was sarcasm, since otherwise it is an argument of elitism. The world is not Napa or Monterey. It is a vastly different place.

                                It's easy to extol the virtues of the farmer's market when the farmer's market is easy to get to and has those wonderful fruits, figs, basil, etc. I know because I've lived in places like that.

                                I've also lived in places where the farmer's market consisted of tomatoes, okra, squash and melons and peppers because that's all you're going to get in the heat of summer. Forget lettuces, citrus, chinese greens, or any number of other things.

                                However, I have lived more places where eight to six months out of the year there is NO farmer's market, because of that funny thing called snow and frost and you couldn't even grow a cabbage if you wanted to. I can remember when canned and frozen vegetables where the norm because that's what you got and a crate of fresh oranges was a Christmastime treat -- and I ain't that old (and, no, not that poor, either)! Furthermore, during those eight to six months, you were lucky if a quality farmer's market was only a 70 to 100 mile drive.

                                In those places, all produce, organic or not, has to get shipped. (And let's face it, a lot of that wonderful organic produce doesn't ship that well.) I'm not supporting locally no matter what I buy at that point. When your choice is canned, frozen, pickled, or supermarket produce, well...

                                The world is not Napa, the world is not as chefs would like it. It is.

                                David "Zeb" Cook

                                1. re: David "Zeb" Cook
                                  berkleybabe RE: David "Zeb" Cook Jul 11, 2001 10:57 PM

                                  Thanks for the affirmation. The world doesn't exist in Napa/Sonoma or the nonseasonable limited part of the U.S. Happy to have an affirmation that that environment isn't the norm for the U.S., despite the hype in the food press. I'd love to be there, but I'm not, and whole lot of the U.S. isn't either. But we're chowhounds and want tasty, affordable ingredients nontheless.

                                  1. re: berkleybabe
                                    Melanie Wong RE: berkleybabe Jul 11, 2001 11:25 PM

                                    This envy isn't limited to the middle of the country. While mentioning Sonoma's farmers markets to a couple friends in Santa Cruz, their comment was - oh, you get all the good stuff, we can't buy that kind of produce here.

                                    1. re: Melanie Wong
                                      Caitlin McGrath RE: Melanie Wong Jul 11, 2001 11:52 PM

                                      For those not as familiar with northern California geography, Sonoma and Santa Cruz are less than 200 miles apart.

                                      The best thing I got in Santa Cruz when I lived there were Davenport dry-farmed tomatoes.

                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                        Melanie Wong RE: Caitlin McGrath Jul 12, 2001 01:48 AM

                                        Oh, but the artichokes are so much better. Only once have I been able to buy 'chokes as fresh and fleshy in Sonoma County as you'd get locally. And, the grocery store made a big deal about how good they were.

                                        1. re: Melanie Wong
                                          Caitlin McGrath RE: Melanie Wong Jul 12, 2001 10:04 AM

                                          True--local produce. Something to be said for being near the artichoke capital of the world. (Early on in her, um, entertainment career, Mairlyn Monroe was a Castroville Artichoke Queen!)

                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                            Melanie Wong RE: Caitlin McGrath Jul 13, 2001 05:17 PM

                                            Have you ever been to the small museum in Castroville dedicated to Marilyn Monroe? I think it's still there. She did indeed start her entertainment career here.

                                            I would add a few words about how to select the best artichokes, but I don't want to annoy anyone.

                                            1. re: Melanie Wong
                                              Lisa Jenkins RE: Melanie Wong Jul 13, 2001 05:40 PM

                                              Please, Melanie, lay it on us - at some point I think we all encounter them, be they at produce stands or supermarkets.

                                              1. re: Lisa Jenkins
                                                Melanie Wong RE: Lisa Jenkins Jul 14, 2001 09:32 PM

                                                Lisa, my earlier posting was unnecessarily snippy and I apologize to our gentlehounds.

                                                The ability to buy a dewy fresh artichoke is probably limited to residents within 100 miles of Castroville. A rough triangulation defines that space as Sausalito to Fresno to San Luis Obispo and somewhere over the Pacific Ocean, so, I've posted on the California board (link below).

                                                Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                                                1. re: Melanie Wong
                                                  Jim Leff RE: Melanie Wong Jul 14, 2001 09:50 PM

                                                  Sounds like a biz opportunity if someone within the artichoke triangle decided to resell via FEDEX, no?

                                                  1. re: Jim Leff
                                                    Melanie Wong RE: Jim Leff Jul 15, 2001 02:13 AM

                                                    The fresh-packers in Castroville are already on that one. Search on the 'net for the Lazzerinis, Pezzini farm or other direct-to-consumer farm sales for express delivery.

                                                    But you don't have the chance to sort through the pile of artichokes and choose the best ones for yourself. (g)

                                      2. re: Melanie Wong
                                        Nancy Berry RE: Melanie Wong Jul 12, 2001 10:36 AM

                                        That's really funny, Melanie. I was just going to write about the wonderful almost completely organic farmers' market in Santa Cruz when I read about your Santa Cruz friends "Sonoma envy." I'll describe the market on the San Francisco board.

                                        I think we all have to realize that there are foods available to some of us that are simply not available to others. Here in San Francisco, for example, we have access to farmers' markets and lots of exceptional produce, but I can only read and reminisce about real Jewish deli -- it's simply unavailable here. That doesn't mean that folks in New York should stop writing about their latest Jewish deli "find." I love the fact that this is a national board. I learn a lot by reading posts from other regions. It doesn't seem very productive to criticize someone for writing about wonderful foods just because they aren't readily available in some (or even most) parts of the country.

                                        1. re: Nancy Berry
                                          Melanie Wong RE: Nancy Berry Jul 13, 2001 05:13 PM

                                          Nancy, thanks for making that point. I guess we could do a better job of subject headings so that those who get upset hearing about fresh produce can avoid those posts.

                                          The most precious produce is in short supply even close to the source. Table conversation over dinner in Santa Rosa (Sonoma County) recently included some whining that the Tuesday farmers markets in the county had lost the best stands to SF's market where the urban residents will pay much more than the rural folk.

                                    2. re: David "Zeb" Cook
                                      Brandon Nelson RE: David "Zeb" Cook Jul 12, 2001 03:34 AM

                                      No Napa isn't the entire world...

                                      The next time I describe it as the entire world will be the first. I don't live in shell either. I've experienced Nebraska and Montona winters. I know cold. I know driving an hour for ANY sort of groceries.

                                      It's not the dead of winter now, it's July. If you are going to find any sort of local crops its now.

                                      It amazes me how some of you folks get so BITTER when you're encouraged to seek out something great. Would you drive an hour to try a restaraunt? I have. Would you do the same for groceries. I do, regularly. I will tomorrow. This sight has always been about sharing. Believe or not you folks from the East coast aren't the only ones who post on the general topics board. It's a national forum. I'm sharing a concept. I fully realize not everyone can see it through. I am also aware some of you have more options than you think. I'm trying to make them obvious to you.

                                      There is a reason that Alice Waters, Ron Siegal, Thomas Keller and their contemporaries set up shop here in the Bay Area. It gives them the most options. Wyoming limits them. The world is not Wyoming, nor Maine, nor Utah nor Colorado. The world isn't alway as Chowhounds would like it. It is.

                                      1. re: Brandon Nelson
                                        ironmom RE: Brandon Nelson Jul 12, 2001 06:44 AM

                                        Face it. When you tell us that we should shop at our local farmer's market for bargains on organic peaches, figs, artichokes, or utilize government programs that don't exist in our state, it sounds elitist to most of us who have access to nothing like this.

                                        And when you tell us that driving an hour will change any of this, or hint that we should be willing to go out of our way to shop at your market, it sounds insincere.

                                        We're not bitter. Just a wee bit annoyed.

                                        1. re: ironmom
                                          Brandon Nelson RE: ironmom Jul 13, 2001 03:53 AM

                                          Bar Harbor
                                          Blue Hill
                                          Boothbay Harbor

                                          I don't want to list all of them. It's boring. These are alphabetically, the A's, B's , and C's of the towns listed that have either seasonal or year round farmers markets in the state of, ahem, Maine.

                                          Before you use words like insincere and elitist you should do your research. It's all there on the U.S.D.A. websight (Jason Perlow posted the url in the above farmers market thread. I posted it some time ago.). So don't tell me about programs that don't exist where you live. You wind up looking insincere. The same way way you looked when you assumed my religious background.

                                          By the way the "yuppymart" wasn't trying to shaft anyone with their fig prices. They regularly run $3.50 to $5.00 lb, even in California.

                                          I have a great suggestion. Lets you and I search our shoulders for any chips that might be there, dip 'em in guacamole, munch 'em down and chase them with a cold one. We are both frequent posters here. I'd like to think that we both have something to add to the forum. I'm not trying to push a lifestyle on anyone, I'm just sharing mine.


                                          1. re: Brandon Nelson
                                            ironmom RE: Brandon Nelson Jul 13, 2001 08:37 AM

                                            None of this would have bothered me a bit if you'd posted on your local board, where what you wrote is correct.

                                            Let me get to the heart of this issue, with a quote from you: "You *will* find..." You proceed to list a great many things which are never available in farmers markets around here.

                                            There are farmers markets in many towns around here. I shop at one down the street from me. We have a nice variety of vegetables from the beginning of August to the first hard frost, at a higher price than supermarkets. None of these markets are year-round to my knowledge, and if there were any (indoors) that were, they'd be selling coffee, soap, milk (but no cheese) and mustard in the winter. Probably storage cabbage, potatoes and withered carrots would not be a big seller.

                                            I don't consider the USDA listing of farmers markets on their website to be a "government program". What I was referring to are the sorts of managed agricultural coop/home delivery programs that I saw suggested in this thread as a substitute for good farmers markets.

                                            I also recall that you suggested we should be willing to drive an hour and we'd find a market like yours.

                                            I wish.

                                            1. re: ironmom
                                              Brandon Nelson RE: ironmom Jul 14, 2001 08:10 PM


                                              As long as this subject garners responses from Chowhounds from L.A., Philly, and New Jersey I'll assume that it is appropriate for the general board. It's not just a local issue.

                                              I already know that you live in the frozen north. You made that very clear the last time I made a similar post. I don't think its necessary to re-hash this fact every time I post something that doesn't directly relate to you, or Maine in general.

                                              My references to what is in season now (or coming) are correct on a national scale. I don't feel obligated to break it down by region. Other chowhounds fill that gap quite nicely. I'm sure you will fill us in on what you can and can't get in Maine markets at any particular time.

                                              Jason Perlow shared the co-op info (thank you Jason) not I. The only "goverment program" I have refferenced has been the U.S.D.A. You are mixing information from 2 different threads, and various posters.

                                              As for the hour drive, I described something that I do. I made no judgements and casted no aspersions on those unwilling or unable (including those who find it impossible due to geography)to do the same. Read my post again and you will find this to be true.

                                              The further a person lives from centers of agriculture the more limited their shopping options become. I thought that was a simple matter of common sense. I don't have any great alternative for you. You pitched your tent in Maine, you get to deal with all of the rewards and shortcomings of living there.

                                              Found that bowl of guacamole yet?


                                              1. re: Brandon Nelson
                                                ironmom RE: Brandon Nelson Jul 14, 2001 09:42 PM


                                                1. re: ironmom
                                                  Brandon Nelson RE: ironmom Jul 15, 2001 01:51 AM


                                                  Regarding any chips that might be on anyones shoulders. That would be in reference to the post I made on this thread July 13, 3:53 59. It was a very relevant part of this thread. Did you read it before you responded? If you did you would have a very clear idea of what I'm writing about.


                                                  1. re: Brandon Nelson
                                                    ironmom RE: Brandon Nelson Jul 15, 2001 08:26 AM

                                                    You're reminding me of who gets the last word, right?

                                                    1. re: ironmom
                                                      Brandon Nelson RE: ironmom Jul 15, 2001 08:55 PM


                                                      I been trying to keep this thread relevant. I've been trying to tolerate a person who throws around words like elitist and insincere like they are meaningless. I read things before I post on them. Sometimes what I post is simply opinion. I'm fine about agreeing to disagree. If someone has their facts wrong, I may interject, and back up my info.

                                                      There are certain things I avoid. I avoid insults. I don't get personal. I try to assume that every post is written in the best of spirits and doesn't have bad intentions. I make an effort to keep in mind the context and perspective of other posters. I try to learn. I'm afraid I can never give back what I gain from Chowhound.

                                                      I've been trying to have a positive exchange with you. It's difficult. You mix the information from various threads. You forget who wrote what. You assume I'm just trying to be a smartass if you are corrected. You ignore my attempt to tone down what is becoming confrontational.

                                                      I don't care about the last word. If I don't have something left to add to a thread, I don't add anything. In spite of my best efforts I have nothing left to add to this one. Last word or not.

                                        2. re: Brandon Nelson
                                          Caitlin Wheeler RE: Brandon Nelson Jul 12, 2001 10:09 AM

                                          Brandon, it's not that people are bitter because you're encouraging them to seek out something great, it is that it simply is not available in most parts of the U.S. I have the luck to live 10 blocks from the Union Square Greenmarket in New York City - a veritable cornucopia of delights,and I go there almost every Saturday, but it does not live up to the produce I grew up with in California. It is July, and I am lusting after stonefruits, tasting sunripe tomatoes and breathing in the heady scent of fresh basil. However, I have been sorely disappointed to find that I cannot find a peach worth even biting into let alone eating all of, or any local plums. The less than sweet tomatoes are selling in the market at $3.50 a pound, while I can get deep red tomatoes on the vine at my crappy corner grocery store for $1.50 a pound. Cherries are just starting to be available, but at the very steep price tag of $5.00 a pound. Maybe the season is later on the east coast, or maybe it doesn't come at all, but you simply cannot assume that even those with access to farmer's markets have anything near the level of selection or quality you have living in Northern California. In September and October,yes, in the midst of apple season, we may have something on you, but summer here is not what it is in California.

                                          1. re: Brandon Nelson
                                            Andy P. RE: Brandon Nelson Jul 13, 2001 08:33 AM

                                            Hi Brandon,

                                            >Believe or not you folks from the East coast aren't the only ones who post on the general topics board. >It's a national forum.

                                            Based on many of the posts that have appeared on this board, I'd like to humbly submit the idea that this is actually a "borderless" forum, covering the culinary gamut of general topics.


                                            1. re: Andy P.
                                              Jim Leff RE: Andy P. Jul 14, 2001 02:40 AM

                                              Yes, for now, anyway.

                                              in an ideal world, each region would have it's own "General Topics", "What's My Craving", "The Best", "Kosher", and "Not About Food" board....and we'd ALSO have national forums for all kinds of stuff.

                                              But to do that sort of massive shift would take money and staff we don't have, and would require all sorts of infrastructural improvements (which would require yet MORE money and staff)

                                              Meanwhile, General Topics struggles under the weight. This board has the potential to massively overload, which is why we ask people to post to Not About Food for topics not directly related to chowhounding (even if they're food tangential). For example, if this discussion continues to morph into geographic and lifestyle contentiousness (and/or Marilyn Monroe museums), I'm hoping it can be resumed over there. First one to do so earns my undying gratitude.


                                              1. re: Andy P.
                                                Brandon Nelson RE: Andy P. Jul 14, 2001 07:35 PM


                                                I was trying so hard not to be an elitish :)

                                          2. re: berkleybabe
                                            rjka RE: berkleybabe Jul 12, 2001 08:10 AM

                                            Thanks for making this point. I was going to respond to Brandon's point on farmer's markets above, which was a response to my earlier post. I live on the fringe of Southern New England and yes, we do have local farmer's markets. But outside of getting some great apple varieties and prices in the fall, the selection is disappointingly hit or miss and prices are not great. And for those people interested in organics, I'd judge that about 30% of the stuff is organic. Yes, I could go through the time, hassle and expense of trekking into New York to the Union Square Greenmarket for a few bunches of vegetables, but I gues I plead guilty to not being dedicated enough of a chowhound.

                                            1. re: rjka
                                              Caitlin McGrath RE: rjka Jul 12, 2001 10:08 AM

                                              But you know, NYC isn't the farmers' maeket mecca that Brandon's going on about, either. The prices--especially for organics--at the Union Square market can be high, and I don't think there's much more than 30% organic anyway.

                                              And for some, a two-hour round trip for veggies means not enough time to cook or do other necessaries. Of course.

                                      2. re: rjka
                                        Brandon Nelson RE: rjka Jul 11, 2001 08:01 PM

                                        No.... you won't

                                        Not in a supermarket, that's not their true niche. I'm going to start a new thread on the top of the board. Check it out. You will find a place to go, or a Chowhound with the knowledge to guide you there.


                                  2. h
                                    Harry McRae RE: Peter B. Wolf Jul 19, 2001 08:20 AM

                                    I believe that the writer was dead right when he mentioned the "limited attention" of the Chief Executive. It probably should have read "limited attention span". Clearly Mr. Bush hasn't a clue as to the earnestness of Ms. Waters and many others in trying to raise the consciousness of the nation on issues such as these.

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