After reading the blog post of Jamie Waldron, head butcher at Paesano’s Gourmet Market & Cafe, both Pina and I felt we needed to give it as much exposure as possible to help this movement which is so desperately needed in our area.Â The post below is Jamie’s post in it’s entirety:
It saddens my heart to hear and read about the local food movement and how it has gained so much steam in other parts of the country and world, while we here in Windsor/Essex County still continue to buy foods from far away places. I’ve become soured because I work within the industry and watch as the general consumer of goods decides to put smart, healthy, local choices on the back burner instead of the forefront. This trend of buying and supporting local is really catching on in other major metropolitan areas and rural parts of the country. But our fair corner of the earth has remained oblivious to this wonderful plan that was put in place so many years ago and more recently in Italy by Carlo Petrini, the founder of Slow Food.
If this is really so important to folks than why is it that so few participate? And why is there so little enthusiasm on the part of restaurateurs and independent grocers to support the area? Name me one restaurant that carries exclusively Essex County wines, or promotes all the exceptional meats and produce that are available a mere 20 minutes away.
There really is no good reason why a dinning establishment can’t make a go of it by selling exclusively local goods. Seriously. We live in an area that produces all types of meats and produce, not to mention some of the best wines that are making waves nationally, if not internationally.
After you consider these questions take a drive 3 hours north east to the Niagara region. Spend some time there and get a feel for how a community comes together to support one another. Notice how it’s not just a fad to have local wines on the menu (in fact it would be a slap in the face to the wine makers) or proudly mention that the rack of lamb comes from a farm down the way. Look a little closer and see how produce growers, while hard pressed these days, are placed upon pedestals at independent grocers and road side stands.
Then after you’ve experienced this sense of community spirit, come home to Windsor, dine at your favorite restaurant and ask the server which local wines they’d recommend, ask them where the pork chop came from, how it was raised and how it was fed. Notice how these questions are met with blank stares and the ever famous response “I’ll ask the chef.”
Then make your way to the butcher shop at the supermarket, because the local shops are fading fast, and ask the kid behind the counter how long the beef ribs have been aged or if that poultry is from our area.
This trend is quite something to talk about and even easier to put into practice. But those who are supporting this are preaching to the choir. Those who know love it, those who don’t will not unless the word gets out.
If this movement is to take a foot hold then things need to happen now.
From local wineries to restaurants, road side stands to major grocery retailers, people need to get out their collective soap boxes and scream from the roof tops. When given an educated choice, I’d like to believe the shoppers of this area really are capable of making good decisions. And maybe that’s giving the public more credit than they deserve, but when no one wants to inform them of their choices then how are they to know?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jamie writes for pure enjoyment. He has had articles in publications throughout Windsor/Essex County. While music and photography are his passions, food ranks a close fourth to alcohol. A self described carnivore and self admitted traveler, he spends his days carving meat and thinking about writing.