Thursday, 4 November 2010

Ethics - what price?

I have made no attempt to hide my preference to eat food that has been as ethically and locally produced as possible. That means, quite simply, that ideally I would like to know that my food, if it had previously been alive and of the animal, bird or fish variety, had lived as humane a life as possible in the circumstances, and been killed in the same way.

If it had been grown, I would like to think a similar amount of love, care and thought had been injected into its production, with no, or minimal amounts of, chemicals added to the equation over its lifespan.

I realize that my expectations are costly and unreal, in many instances, but that doesn’t alter the fact that this is how I feel. I also think many others feel the same way, as appears to be emerging with the popularity of Farmers Markets worldwide.

Therefore I find it interesting to ponder and observe the eating habits of the very same people who produce this ethically and organically grown and farmed produce that I buy, and encourage everyone else to buy.

Do they indeed embrace these self-same ethics I have described above? Do they put their money where their mouths are and indulge similarly? Or do they pop along to the local supermarket and buy any old dross, and eat at restaurants where they know with certainty that the produce used is frozen, not local and not ethically or organically raised?

Do you regularly see all your (expensively priced local produce) producers eating at the restaurants or cafes of more well known users of ethically produced food, such as Ut Si’s, Smolt, Garagistes, Moorilla, Pigeon Hole, Lotus Eaters, RVL, Red Feather Inn? What do the larders of local producers of exclusive products look like?

My question – do the local producers put back into the ‘foodie’ community?

The cafes and restaurants who constantly strive to maintain the ethical, sustainable and organic label buy from these local producers, but is it just a one way, or is it a two way, street?
Posted on by Rita


Anonymous said...

What a great and well timed question Rita.
In my experience a few producers do not think beyond the inital transaction with the restaurants that pay over the odds for their produce. It would not occur to them that they should be inclined to reciprocate not only to support the ventures that support them but also because they belive that these places are trying to make a difference.
There are notable exceptions but sadly these people are in a definite minority.

Anonymous said...

was your krispy kreme pasture raised or ike jime spiked? : )

Rita said...

My KK, I'm positive, was definitely ethically raised AND ike jime spiked! Well - look at me - don't I look healthy, and much the better from having devoured so many KK's over the years? (I reckon the KK's can only enhance the chemo I had! Pft! Chemicals - what chemicals?)

The Passionate Gardener said...

Unfortunately most of these producers are too busy and don't earn enough from their efforts to frequent some of these (more expensive) eateries.

Anonymous said...

Too busy maybe but expense is relative. If they produce things that are generally more expensive because they are better/sustainable/organic etc then surely they can understand that the restaurants that buy off them need to pass on that cost to the customer?
Its all very well to say that these restaurants are more expensive but they cannot be expected to absorb the costs just to appease producers and customers alike-everyone along the supply line should pay or whats the point?

ut si said...

I regularly see our suppliers in the caf & love it because I learn so much from them.
The challenge for us is getting the locals from our village through the door!

Anonymous said...

someone grows/makes something unique
they spruik it's uniqueness and tell you why it costs more than the other crap-so you buy it
you never see them in your shop because they're always saying how expensive it is to eat out
what the fuck

Anonymous said...

Judging by the Mount Gnoman farm post they might buy rillettes but they dont buy good bread check out the white high top loave !!!!

steve said...

Great topic Rita.
I think anyone who starts down this path of offering or enjoying an alternative to the homogamy of foodstuffs available, be they producers, restaurateurs and consumers, must be aware that as long as they are in the minority, it will cost more to be so.
Generally anything bespoke or exceptional always attracts more finacial sacrifice, isn't that the conventional wisdom?

Cartouche said...

In short and to the point, maybe two out of 10 will see it as a symbiotic relationship, but in my experience its a one way street. A few even get bitchy if you drop off demand having never set foot in your place for years.
The ones who do though, I love.


Anonymous said...

Yes Anon 10:42 just what I was thinking, why raise rare bred pigs then make a classic product from that meat then serve it on crap bread?

Anonymous said...

just underlines my theory that just because an opportunist latches onto an idea to make or grow something that they think will shift units doesn't mean they are a foodie

steve said...

Hi Rita, Big Congratulation to Rod and the team(yourself included) behind the Pickled Frog being nationally recognised as Tasmania's best backpackers-Well done!

Rita said...

Thanks to all of you who commented on this topic. I find the contemplation of this subject influences my purchasing processes, so was interested to see what others thought.
Steve - yes, a surprising win, but, naturally (and of course I would say this!!) well deserved! I will write a post about this very subject soon.....

Mount Gnomon Farm said...

As free range pig producers we are very conscious of shopping and eating ethically. We grow all our own organic vegetables, and we eat our own ethically raised beef, chicken, duck, and, of course, pork, ham and bacon. Our lamb and goat comes straight from our neighbours.

We buy Tasmanian cheeses and yoghurts. We buy fair trade and organic coffee and chocolate. We buy Tasmanian apple juice.

When we go out for tea we only eat free range meat that has an ethical story attached to it. If the waitress can't tell us where something has come from then we eat vegetarian.

We must practice what we preach to have credibility in our business, but, this is also the lifestyle we choose to live.

(And if anyone can tell us where to get good-quality locally-milled bread on the north-west coast we would greatly appreciate it).

Anonymous said...

MNF "If the waitress can't tell us where something has come from then we eat vegetarian"

I'd reackon you'd be eating vegetarian a lot then

Anonymous said...

Buy a breadmaker

Anonymous said...

thats funny that bread looked very supermarket white to me too!