Saturday, June 09, 2007

Andy Robinson, La Vanguardia's New York correspondent, is one of those guys who can never pass up an opportunity to sneer at American society. Never once has American society ever done anything sensible or reasonable, in Robinson's way of thinking.

So Andy decides to write a softball piece on food in the US. Naturally, he has criticized what he sees as the burger-laden "American diet" many times, never considering that many Americans do eat fresh vegetables and fish and lots of healthy stuff like that.

Now he's suddenly discovered that there is such a thing as a farmers' market. In case you'd never heard of them, every town of any size has one at least once a week. Local truck farmers sell their produce. My dad goes to the one in downtown Overland Park every Saturday morning in season to buy green beans and tomatoes and canteloupes and peaches and corn on the cob. You get a good deal both on quality and price. Not everybody shops there--Andy says only about 8-10% of Americans--but it's an available option that's becoming more popular. Andy adds that there are 44 farmers' markets in New York, more than ever before, which means that it's not only us folks out there in Kansas who can get this stuff.

This looks like a promising trend, Americans buying healthy fresh food locally, doesn't it?

Nope. Andy's take is that the reason behind it is that the Yanks are--get this--"frightened of the contamination of massified foods." The headline is, "Global fear, local food." It wouldn't be because the Americans are developing better tastebuds or want to be healthier or any other intelligent reason, it has to be because they're afraid. The Europeans constantly peddle the line that everything we do in America is because of fear.

He adds, "Ironically, 30 years ago massified and scientifically reconstructed food was considered safer and more hygenic than natural, local products." Huh? I remember lots of natural, local products available for sale in 1977. Hell, I remember going out to the local pick-your-own strawberry farm every summer, to the apple orchard every fall, and planting a fairly large garden as well. I don't remember anyone ever saying that such food was unsafe or not hygenic, at least not if you washed it first. In fact, that was the collectivist Seventies, when everybody was into brown rice and stuff like that. Duh. The other thing I remember people doing, which they don't do as much anymore, is putting up fresh foods for the winter in Mason jars.

No comments: