05.08 Life In The Garden Your Boston connection to grass-fed meats and sustainably produced fare brought to you by Lionette’s Market and Garden of Eden Before I (James) sat down to write this month’s newsletter, I ate dinner. And it involved the first baby spinach of the year (Satur Farm, from Long Island), with Lionette’s beet salad (made with Vermont beets and shallots), Seal Cove goat cheese (from Lamoine, Maine), a boiled egg from a farm in Vermont, and a grilled chicken breast (also from Vermont). It was amazing. It was how we should eat in the spring -- a delicious May meal. One of the perks of working at Lionette’s is eating local, sustainable food, and knowing what’s in season. So let me share some of that info. with you: We now have wild fiddleheads and ramps from Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. They should last through mid May, as New England has finally thawed. Despite the mild winter in Boston, most of New England was pummeled with snow (as usual) this winter. Also, all the salad greens are ready: arugula, spring mixes, baby spinach, micro greens, spring Napa cabbage, and pea tendrils. Asparagus should be ready in the upcoming weeks, and it will be from New England not Peru! Speaking of Peru, we still have some local cellared apples from Peru, New York; but when those babies are gone, we’ll be out of apples until sometime around July. That’s normal, though, because remember: It’s not normal to eat apples year round. And considering the price of fuel, local food actually has a fighting chance as all that international food rises in price. (Local food is also rising in price, but not nearly as dramatic as the international stuff.) And as for European food, the dollar has plummeted so much against the Euro that Vermont Camembert and Maine goat cheese are finally nearly the same price as their European counterparts that are flown across the ocean. So stop buying those excessive European cheeses and support your community and buy local cheeses! What else does Lionette’s have now? Goats are being milked again, so we have several local goat cheeses. And over the next month we should have all of our New England goat cheeses available: Hubbarsdston Blue from Hubbardston, Mass.; all of the Seal Coves from Lamoine, Maine; Blue Ledge from Vermont; Valley View from Topsfield, Mass.; and more. Game birds are pretty much done until the fall, but there are still plenty of meat options to choose from. Lionette’s gets in a full pig and a full lamb every week, as well as most every cut of beef … beef that’s local and 100 percent grass fed. Lionette’s Market is the only place in Boston to get it. For anyone who has not heard us yell and scream this, again, ALL OF OUR MEATS ARE FROM LOCAL AND SUSTAINABLE FARMS. So we encourage you to eat and shop local, and remember our mantra: Sustainable farming is and will always be the only option. Happy reading. Clean eating. Family Lionette ________________________________________________ WE NOW DELIVER! We deliver, car-free! Back Bay, downtown, Beacon Hill, even across the river … and without the use of cars! We’ve considered proffering a delivery service, and we skipped the idea entirely of buying a hybrid or biofuel car and cut the car right out of the equation by using the New Amsterdam Project, whose unique “trike” human-powered cycle service delivers your catering or groceries. We usually just need a day’s notice (and sometimes we can do it the same day). If you can be flexible, we can figure it all out. Check out our spring-summer catering and prepared foods on our website www.lionettesmarket.com or call in and talk with our staff about what has come in from the farms. Remember, every Thursday we receive a full pig, and on Fridays we get a full lamb. Every day of the week different treats from around the north east corridor arrive. For more information call Jamey at 617.778.0360 __________________________________________________________ FEATURED FOODS AND SUSTAINABLE SUPPLIES Fish! Lionette’s Market will start selling fresh fish, as well as fish dishes in our prepared foods cabinet. We will be very strict with what we carry; the following criteria will be used: :: No fish high in mercury (swordfish, tuna), but fish high in Omega 3’s :: No fish near extinction or threatened (such as local cod, bluefin tuna), but abundance (bluefish) :: Preferably local fish caught using sustainable fishing methods (such as hook- and-line or pole-and-line caught out of Chatham). We might as well support fishermen who are doing their trade the right way. We will occasionally get Pacific fish, like ocean-caught salmon but prefer to work with people from our community. :: We will carry farmed fish which is responsible and safe (such as artic char) but will not carry farmed fish using practices that are devastating to both ecology and body (such as most farm raised salmon). Hook-and-line and some pole-and-line catches will begin shortly. It is a difficult and uncertain season for local fishing this year, and I suspect it will be like this for a long, long time. Our oceans are in worse shape than our land! So as of now, we don’t know what we will be getting; but please check in. In future e-mails we hope to inform you on what will be in season, and (as often as we can) what vessels from which we get the fish, which port, and the method of fishing. Because as you know, there’s nothing wrong with knowing from where your food comes and whether or not it is sustainable. So please ask about the fish o’ the day we’re selling and serving. Also, just for the sake of discussion, we heard that Nantucket now has zero local fishermen porting there. The last one was just contracted out to a group in Hyannis. Imagine that: an island that doesn’t even get its own fish, but buys it from fishermen on the mainland…. __________________________________________________ Interesting Web reads o’ the month.... An interesting site about raw milk: www.thecompletepatient.com Also On the subject of raw milk, check out www.realmilk.com. We cannot sell raw milk at Lionette’s, but we do sell a local milk which is clean and all from one family farm! This is a nice article on Lionette’s beef and pig events this past winter. Check out the rest of the Web site, it’s one of the best out there for news on food: http://www.ethicurean.com/2008/04/18/meeting-my-meat-at-garden-of- edenlionettes-market-in-boston/ This is the Union of Concerned Scientists’ latest release on CAFO (Confined Animal Feeding Operations), where most of the meat consumed in this country comes from. Fifty or sixty years ago, none of our meat came from these places: Read this site and educate yourself. http://www.ucsusa.org/food_and_environment/sustainable_food/cafos- uncovered.html And while you are at it, check out the UCS’s report on grass-fed beef: http://www.ucsusa.org/food_and_environment/sustainable_food/greener- pastures.html __________________________________________________ Lionette’s cost-saving tips for buying good food. The cost of food is going up all over the world and local food is not exempt. So Lionette’s Market is hunting down ways to help you pay less for local, sustainably grown food. Here are our best tips: :: Lionette’s Market is now accepting the Boston Community Change Card. This new customer loyalty card (note: it’s NOT a credit card...) rewards you and a non-profit or local school of your choice every time you shop at a participating business, like ours. The program has worked great in Jamaica Plain and the city of Boston is now starting the program in the South End. So look for the Boston Community Change decal when shopping, or visit the bostoncommunitychange.org to learn about other participating businesses in our neighborhood. Present your card at the time of purchase and earn a 10 percent rebate on purchases of $30 or more while also generating a cash reward for your organization of your choice. Shop locally, Share locally! The card is free! :: BicycleBenefits.org: Lionette’s is now one of the companies from whom you can receive benefits ... if you get here by bike. Go to the Web site for more info. http://www.bicyclebenefits.org/index.php?option=com_sobi2&catid=17&Itemid=9 999999 :: Spare Change magazine: Buy a $1 copy of Spare Change magazine and receive a $2 coupon for Lionette’s Market. __________________________________________________ END NOTES from JAMES Rants, raves, reviews, and news, about the world of sustainable agriculture in our not-always-so-sustainable world “Eat Locally or Die.” Remember the clothing store in Harvard Square back in the 80s that sported a similar slogan? All of our meats, most of our cheeses, produce, and shelf items, come from local sustainable farms and producers. Thisis not normal anymore; in fact, it’s almost unheard of, and shamefully considered a luxury or “boutique” thing. But meats from local farms that are free from antibiotics, factories, and feedlots, should not be considered luxurious, fancy, or high-end. Local meats should just be considered normal. Remember, meat is expensive. What you buy at the supermarkets and most restaurants are meats that have been cheapened. As for all the hidden costs, once you realize them all, you would see how utterly cheap local meats (and all local food, for that matter) really is. So eat less meat, but make sure that when you do eat meat, it’s the right meat. And while we are at it, eat lots of vegetables, but focus on eating mostly local ones that are grown properly when in season. When you take a look at the bigger picture, it’s actually much cheaper to buy your food from Lionette’s Market (and directly from the farms) than from chain supermarkets and high-end restaurants selling cheap food with fancy décor. Don’t take my word for it, though: check out these links. http://www.ucsusa.org/food_and_environment/sustainable_food/cafos- uncovered.html http://www.ucsusa.org/food_and_environment/sustainable_food/greener- pastures.html The truth is, eating locally should be as normal as eating healthily. Eating mass- produced food is not healthy, and causes all sorts of illnesses. I heard on NPR (and I hope I am not starting rumors) that a recent study found for the first time since 1912 that women’s life expectancy in the United States decreased. One of the key factors cited was not AIDS, or drugs, or bullets, but obesity. It’s the horrid, but cheap, food that most of us eat on a daily basis that is one of the most significant reasons why we have an obesity problem. Eating locally empowers your community by allowing farms to survive, and by knowing the people who produce your food. And yes: Despite what so many news articles may say, eating locally is less devastating to the planet than relying on a global, genetically modified, mass-produced food supply. Eating locally worked for tens of thousands of years. It’s only been in the last 50 years or so -- about the same time that supermarkets appeared -- that we decided to try this awful experiment of monoculture farming for long-distance distribution of cheap food. Eating locally is one way to do your part in preventing the climate from heating up. It’s odd: People send us articles on food (and there are so many right now!), and there seems to be a great deal of press suggesting that there are better food options that will help save the planet than eating locally. From the Boston Globe to The Examiner and all over the Internet, people are encouraging us not to follow the trend of eating locally. Strange thing is, I rarely ever see an article suggesting to eat locally, and I am miffed that this is even considered a trend. I don’t think there is a conspiracy here, but let’s be honest with ourselves. Very few people are eating locally on a regular basis. First off, nobody gets paid enough to eat locally anymore. Mass production, monoculture farming, genetic modification, and drugs have cheapened the price of food. Our wages are cheapened too; so now when we see the price tag of real food from local farms we cringe and think it is expensive, fancy food (can’t recall how many times have we heard, “I don’t want to buy that grass-fed beef: It’s just for my kids, and they would not appreciate it!”). So if a significant number of people in this country were eating locally or desired to eat locally, the United States would look like Haiti. People would be outraged by how expensive food is. There would be food riots. But fortunately or unfortunately, depending on where you stand, few people in the United States have clued in to the need for a local and decentralized food supply. And as for food riots, at least Haitians ousted their government. Food crises - What’s that got to do with the price of tea in China? So, aside from riots in Haiti, more than 35 countries in the world had riots or major demonstrations last month because of food prices. Even Sam’s Club in the United States rationed its rice to customers! Food is in the news now, everywhere. Here’s a quick re-cap, because the causes of food crises exemplify everything bad about our food supply, and not to sound self-righteous, but these problems are the opposite of everything we do at Lionette’s Market. Commodity crops. Corn, soy, rice, and wheat, have skyrocketed in price. In the United States we have replaced a wide variety of food crops with corn across most of the country over the past 50 years. Subsidies encourage farmers to grow second rate corn rather than food they can sell to their community. Corn is then sent to CAFO (feedlots) or turned into things like corn syrup. So essentially, we are paying to make ourselves fat and sick off of cheap food. But now, 15-30 percent of all corn in the United States is being transformed into bio-fuel … an absolute loser! It takes approximately one barrel of oil to produce one barrel of corn- based bio-fuel! So now, because of the energy bill, the old farm bill, and anticipation of a new farm bill, farmers (well, not really farmers, as they’re mostly gone now; “agribusiness” is the better word) are switching from crops like wheat - - the stuff we make bread from -- to grow corn for bio-fuel and/or CAFO feed and corn syrup. Again, we Americans just paid to make our food more expensive, we paid to make it not only less healthy, but actually dangerous, and we are paying to ruin our communities and burn our planet. So essentially, we pay the government to make our cheap food that makes us sick more expensive. It just doesn’t make any sense. But there are other things to consider on the food crisis. -Global food supply. Look at Liberia. More than 90 percent of its rice (Liberia’s staple) is imported. The country no longer produces food for itself. Subsidized food from big countries undercuts the local food prices, so local food farmers go out of business. But it gets much more complicated than this. Ask someone who is against the WTO or the World Band/IMF about their austerity policies that allow rich countries to have subsidies but force poor countries to abandon subsidies to local producers. The point I am trying to make is that a globalized food market is one of the culprits of the food crisis, too. And this also applies to home. Organic garlic from China is significantly cheaper than local organic garlic. For most of April, we could not find an organic garlic unless it was from China. So we just didn’t buy garlic until local varieties were available. As for Liberia, there is a growing movement of eating pasta now, because nobody in the country can afford to eat their staple food. -Speculators. These are the people who have absolutely nothing to do with the production of food, but who use food like the stock market -- hoarding it -- and then hoping to sell it at a higher price. Except this is not some abstract concept of wealth like bonds or stocks, this is our food. This is what happens when sustenance is treated like a commodity. Bertolt Brecht wrote in 1929 “Supply and Demand – Trader’s Song” There is rice down the river./ In the provinces up the river/ The people need rice./ If we leave the rice in the warehouse/ It will cost them more./ Those who pull the ricebarge/ Will then get much less rice./ For me the rice will then be even cheaper./ What is rice actually? Do I know do you know,/ What’s this thing called rice?/ God only knows what rice is/ I only know its price. -Climate change. Australia was one of the world’s biggest wheat producers, but has been going through a severe drought that’s pretty much been blamed on climate change. This lack of wheat not only makes wheat more expensive, but it makes wheat less available. It sounds pretty obvious, but who ever thinks about it? -And then there is the “blame China and India game.” The two most populous countries in the world are suddenly prosperous (could part of that be from exporting so many American jobs there because of cheaper labor? I wonder….) while having middle class-consuming habits like consuming lots of meat, which requires more land and more feed, taking away from the world’s vegetable and grain supply. While this certainly is quite true, what is important is not to blame China or India, but realize that the rest of the world cannot eat like Americans. In fact, we must realize the world cannot sustain itself while Americans eat as we do. We are not overpopulated yet -- that is not a factor -- it is just that we are terribly, if not criminally, irresponsible with our production and distribution of food, and there are a few million people in the world whose extravagant lifestyle and eating habits are endangering billions in the world. The same people who made food cheap have now, through their negligence and our desire for cheap food, made food more expensive, and actually dangerous. With that said, the UN held emergency meetings. And in a report, some of their suggestions to deal with the global food crisis are as follows, as excerpted from the BBC news service’s Web site: - The Unesco study recommends better safeguards to protect resources and more sustainable farming practices, such as producing food locally. - More natural and ecological farming techniques should be used. - Haiti, Egypt, the Philippines and parts of West Africa, have seen riots recently over the costs of rice, wheat and soya. - A group of 400 experts spent three years researching the report, which was unveiled on Tuesday 6 May at Unesco in Paris. The authors found: Progress in agriculture has reaped very unequal benefits and has come at a high social and environmental cost. Food producers should try using “natural processes” like crop rotation and use of organic fertilizers. The distance between the produce and consumer should also be reduced. ----------------------------- Is the “eat local” message being heard? Well, it is time to say it: The Garden of Eden is closed forever. And no, Lionette’s Market is not going to expand into the space where the GOE was. We were able to generate the capital needed for expansion. http://www.businessweek.com/smallbiz/content/may2008/sb2008055_070283.ht m?chan=smallbiz_smallbiz+index+page_top+small+business+stories However, we also realize the rent is too much and we do not do nearly enough business to succeed in the space where the GOE was. Four years ago, the South End had three restaurants dedicated to local sustainable food: Icarus, Perdix, and Garden of Eden. Two high-end restaurants, and one casual café. Now, the South End has three times as many restaurants, but is now down to only one dedicated to local and sustainable food (Icarus). The only restaurant in Boston to serve local 100 percent grass-fed beef, Garden of Eden, is gone. The only restaurant certified green by the Green Restaurant Association www.dinegreen.com was the Garden of Eden. Yes, aside from being understandably bitter about GOE closing, I don’t see a huge surge in the “buy local” belief. Local food is still seen as a luxury or special treat to most people, regardless of their class. As for the class reality of local food, there is only one class in this country that gets paid enough to eat local, clean, sustainable food. Think about that for a moment. The majority of people around you can only afford non-sustainable food -- please realize that this does affect you. Just like food riots around the world affect you, and more important, you affect the food crisis around the world. So, for most of you on this newsletter list I am guessing you can afford to eat local food or have re-budgeted yourself to eat locally as much as your paycheck allows by simply cutting back on extravagant luxuries. I mean, c’mon: We see people who paid more than $100 for their pants complain about the cost of farm-raised pork! Priorities. Designer pants aren’t going to do anything good for the world, but eating and shopping locally is a positive action. If enough people start eating locally and we put out of business every supermarket, feedlot, and agribusiness factory farm, then the positive ramifications will be unprecedented. The land will have to be returned to people in our community. People will buy food from their community (Whole Foods, now an international corporation, is NOT part of your community, nor is Trader Joe’s for that matter) and thus make our communities stronger. Chain supermarkets are a great way to ruin your neighborhood. Again: The positives of a strong community and healthy food supply far outweigh the “benefits” of entitled shopping. At the very least, shopping in your community is a social experience. Supermarkets are one of the most lifeless, anti-social, sterile experiences a human being can have. Food is a central focus of every society throughout civilization. Keeping food in the community is better for everyone. Remember: Eating locally has worked more or less for ten thousand years, and it certainly can make a comeback and function again after being displaced only the last fifty years. -James Lionette __________________________________________________ DON’T FORGET: COPIES OF VANDANA SHIVA’S MANIFESTOS ON THE FUTURE OF FOOD AND SEED FEATURING ESSAYS BY: VANDANA SHIVA MICHAEL POLLAN CARLO PETRINI PRINCE CHARLES JAMEY LIONETTE ARE ON SALE AT LIONETTE’S MARKET, DAILY, and of course at SOUTH END PRESS (www.southendpress.org).