Fresh! Local! Organic!


fresh-localBack in September I wrote about urban farming, community gardens, and farmer’s markets. As an extension of this, I’ve noticed that many restaurants are now offering more locally grown choices for produce and even dairy and meat.

In Scene Magazine the news is that, along with more parking (yeah!) at the West Side Market, they hope to offer more local produce due to the increased demand. People are replacing flowers for vegetables in their own gardens and supplementing their own produce with what they get at their local grocery store.

Another choice for fresh and local is a group like Fresh Fork. It is a farm buying club featuring locally sourced products. You can get a weekly subscription for a box of fresh food delivered to 20 locations for pick up.

We got an invitation to attend Fresh Fork’s Savory Spring Candlelight dinner at the 5th Street Arcades.

Recognize anyone?

Recognize anyone?

We arrived hungry. It’s a good thing because over the next 4 hours we got a wide variety of unusual dishes like pate de Faison, fromage de tete, Black Swamp Gouda, warm bacon vinaigrette (it was served to us as our candle), soft pullet egg and cornmeal panisee in an onion brodo, cacio e pepe, and a mess of ramps served in paper.  I don’t know what food went with what label but I do know that a lot of it was green and there were no creamy sauces that I knew as part of gourmet dining a decade ago. I have to admit that by the time course 4 arrived I had lost interest in steamed vegetables and wanted a big piece of bread with a gob of butter on top.

This type of eating is the ultimate conclusion to the local, organic and fresh food movement. It shows that, even in Ohio after a long winter, there are plenty of choices for people who like to seek them out, do the menu planning, and enjoy cooking.

When we lived in California it was not uncommon for friends to quiz the wait staff with many questions about where their food came from and how it was prepared. I never rose to that point of sophistication. I was sitting there waiting, with knife and fork in hand, ready to dig into any chemically enhanced morsel brought on my plate. I live by the dictum of my grandmother and mother: anything in moderation.  So, while fresh and organic is admirable, I still cruise the grocery store with my fruits, veggies, and cheese all preserved and brought in from around the world. And on the way out the door, I might grab a bag of Fritos.