I love Slow Food. Yes, of course I love slow food -the kind it takes all night to make -like a good curry, or all week like a good sourdough, or all year like a good onion. But what I am talking about today is Slow Food -the group of individuals reconnecting Americans and other citizens of the over commercialized planet with the goodness of local, heirloom, and often organic/sustainably grown foods -and why that goodness is a value worth our time.
I am growing alot of potatoes. Perfect harvest (10#’s for every 1 planted) would bring in just shy of 1900 lbs. As I planted alot of Yukon Gold (low yielders) and am harvesting lots of baby’s, end harvest will likely be well shy of that, but I still think over 1000#’s (5:1) is very feasible. That is awesome. It also scares me. Last week I harvested a bit under 200#’s. I sold it all, which felt really good. But that also took care of everyone in our mini CSA, friends at work and family. Many bought 10-20#’s as we gave price breaks there. That also means that these people are out of the potato buying business for many weeks. And the Yukons are READY and need to come in. No root cellar can take potatoes yet, and we don’t have that much fridge space.
Worry set in, so I started to look for a local resturaunt (I know I should have done that months ago…) and found that a chef in the next county started a Slow Food Chapter a year or so ago, and he is a friend of the farm owner so I gave him a call. Long story short I spent most of the morning harvesting 120#’s for him. For this week. But that isn’t the half of it. We had talked price ranges on the phone. I quoted what my CSA members were paying -which is about 25% above Whole Food prices for California organic Yukons. I’ve seen and eaten their potatoes, and mine are significantly better. He seemed fine with that, and ordered 100#’s -plus 20#’s of my baby Carolas -which are divine.
The delivery was great -Chef Jack is a good guy in a very high end “members only” restaurant at a Yacht Club-and he gets it. We looked at the spuds, and then he looked at the invoice. I had billed him $1.25/# for the Yukons and $2/# for the Carolas which was in the range we mentioned. Then he crosses out the $1.25 and makes it $1.75. I was floored. When I stammered a question, he simply replied something like: “these are great potatoes and I don’t like looking for new farmers. I’d rather pay what their worth and have them around rather than save a buck and have them shut down.” Amen. I would wager that many a Slow Food Chef has had a similar conversation with a farmer.
I love Slow Food.
PS Again, the power of being open to your neighbors pays off. I would never have found this chef, let alone have the ground to plant on if I hadn’t talked to my friends. Talk to people -you’ll be better for it!