Maniacal Mondays are my days for a rant.
Today’s is about Buy Local and also to Organic/Green shopping.
I love local businesses. They are the real job creators and often produce excellent products for good values. Especially when it comes to restaurants. I am very happy James Tremontagne is in Westbrook and I can get some amazing poutine at the Frog and Turtle and Memere (eggs, creton, dijon mustard) for Sunday Brunch.
On Wednesday I went into Portland to go to a wonderful new homestyle German resteraunt that is one of my new favorites Schulte and Herr. The atmosphere is terrific as is the food. The potato pancakes there are literally the most cravable dish in Portland for me now.
After lunch, I went to #OccupyMaine for a few to drop off some books. The energy was scattered, and I don’t think camping for a Maine winter makes any sense.
Then I went to have coffee at Bard (excellent coffee) and then the very disappointing Bar Harbor Ice Cream (tasted spicy not creamy), if you want a further review of these places see Saturday’s post.
Every place I went was local, I had great service at all of them, and met nice people enjoying their work. I support Portland Buy Local, and love the amazing shopkeepers there.
But, I can’t shop everything local. Someone I follow on Twitter suggested that people buy everything for their Thanksgiving dinner locally, many suggest getting all of your presents locally. This is a very nice idea.
In practice, it’s completely crazy. For instance if I wanted to get my wife the Season 5 of Doctor Who (which may have been a birthday present), it’s only $43.49 on DVD and I know it’s in stock and I will get it in a couple days. http://www.amazon.com/Doctor-Who-Complete-Matt-Smith/dp/B003EV6DBM/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1322767821&sr=8-7 If I tried to find this at a local shop like Bull Moose Music, where I have shopped many times and I really like, they are likely not to have it. And if they do it’s likely to be the full $80 retail price. I love supporting local business and I frequently go to Bull Moose to look at DVDs and CDs but I am not going to pay nearly twice as much and have the frustration of not finding the very specific thing I am looking for.
As far as food shopping goes, I do like local markets and farmer’s markets and if they do something really well or have something I can’t find I go there. There are some excellent sauces I get from Asian markets around town as well as Sesame Oil and some other things. I also love that they are there to be a community resource for our ethnic communities and some make amazing food like the one on St. John (Vietenene Market). But, I am not going there to get dinner most of the time. For instance, I am making tacos tonight and need a can of rotels, one can of kidney or pinto beans, flour tortillas, and a pound of ground beef with some cumin and chili powder for the recipe. If I go to my local Hannaford, I know they will have exactly what I need and I know exactly where to get it. I also know which stores have better prices on certain ingredients. For instance, I get most of my Rotels and beans at Shaw’s since they have a better selection and prices on beans then Hannaford does.
And frankly Hannaford is my local market here, it’s close by (if hard to walk to) and they have good quality and employ tons of Mainers. Both at their stores and wherehouses and corporate offices in Scarborough. I know it’s part of a much larger corporation, but I have a great relationship there.
Also if I am going to get essentials like toilet paper, ibuprofen and paper towels, I know Target will have good quality and good prices. I get good service there, know where things are and know the quality will be good. In fact, the Target brand toilet paper is literally my favorite and an excellent value.
And one more extra rant. Organic people. I do like good food, and good ingredients make good food. But, I don’t need to get everything organic. It’s not some piece of magic. In fact for some local producers it can cost money to be “officially” organic. For instance, I would much rather eat local green beans in season, that are insanely better with garlic and butter then something frozen or especially from a can. I am very happy to get a 1/2 peck of local delicious McIntosh, Cortland or Empire apples that are rich and full of flavor over a red delicious apple that is designed to last a long time, not to taste good. Sometimes food is simple, you buy aspargus in Winter it’s likely from Chile, not anywhere close by. Good food, can be good despite where it comes from.
What do you think?