I will play devil’s advocate here on what I think some perceive is a touchy subject, but which I find to be a natural and refreshing.
In my humble opinion, there is nothing wrong with being a food snob or even a food “elitist”. I guarantee you that the best tomato you will eat is the one that you grow from seed and wait through all of May, June, and July to be able to eat. If you are willing to share it with me, and if you can put up with the half-assed one I grow next year when my wife and I break ground on our new garden, then I say you have every right to be elitist about your tomato. I think that your passion/geekiness/snobbery regarding your food (or music or comics or politics or baseball or books) makes you interesting. (BTW, I’m totally up for a Local Blogger Dinner)
I want the farmers who grow my food to feel the same way. I shop at the farmer’s market because I get to meet them and hear them tell me just how good it is. If I had a CSA this year I would want the farmer to feel like they were doing me a favor by letting me pay for my share of premium produce. I love that the Door County Cherry grower that Nick works with at our Co-op pushed his delivery to the market back a week. After driving 90 miles he turned his truck around because he wasn’t proud of his product. I proudly state that the best Corn Tortilla Chip comes from Whole Grain Milling and I’m proud to buy it. I think that the Castle Rock Ice Cream I ate today was some of the best Ice Cream I’ve ever had, and totally worth the $4.99/pint that I paid for it.
Here’s the catch: I work very hard not to let my elitism turn into exclusivity, and I’m way over judging someone for their foods. Why, do you ask? Because I eat Hot Dogs. Not the co-op’s all natural grass fed humanely -raised hot dogs (though I’m sure they’re good). Nope, these were those Vienna beef red-hots, complete with casings and sin. I have broken my eat-local diet for Chicago-style Hot Dogs (complete with neon green relish) and Tater Tots. My excursion to the dog house wasn’t the slightest bit local, but it was damn good. Who am I to judge?
I’ve gone to Dairy Queen twice since I started my challenge. The Butterfinger Blizzard wasn’t the quality product that the Peach Ice Cream was, but it sure did taste good. BTW, I will argue for the legitimacy of Dairy Queen as a local company. It is Minnesota owned, probably franchised locally, and I know that it employs the neighborhood kids. Most importantly I will say that part of eating local for me is about building a community around food. Waiting in line at the neighborhood Dairy Queen on a hot July night with a dozen other people is as “local” an experience as buying parsnips at the Farmer’s Market.