Monday, March 30, 2009

Organic Food Doesn't Work

I was on one of those ... what are they called, you know the places where sly country folk rip off gullible urban sophisticates? Ah yes. I was in one of those farmers' markets yesterday and the first thing I saw was some people making a TV show about farmers' markets. You get that a lot in London. Now that we have no economy to speak of, people have taken to making documentaries, often about FMs. Personally, I'm all for FMs - really - but I am always disappointed. Gill was splenetically and amusingly disappointed in one organic joint recently and, having been to the same place, I can tell you he's right. Yesterday, at the FM, I bought one russet apple and one cox and they were both worse than the ones in Sainsbury's. To be honest, I'm almost always let down by organic food. The worst meat I've ever eaten was all fantastically expensive and came from organic butchers. I remember having to listen to a five-minute lecture on the gold-plated pedigree of some steak only later to find it inedible. I suppose this is because 'organic' like 'green' has become just another marketing label used to raise prices and, as a result, the underlying idea has been lost. This is a pity because supermarkets are, indeed, a bad thing and we'd all like to have real markets like the French. The difference is, of course, that the French know about food and we just make TV shows about it.

18 comments:

  1. I agree though strictly speaking its not about the quality of the eating but the soil and the animal.

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  2. I was in a market in Bayeaux on Saturday. Devastating and possibly world-changing insights will appear on Think of England later, but I would note that actual French markets contain much casual animal cruelty (live ducklings tossed about in tiny crates etc) such as would make the urban sophisticates' eyes water.

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  3. AA Gill's piece was an excellent evisceration of the organic scene, that's for sure (and a return to form for Gill, who I feel has lost that great steely, funny edginess that he used to have in the mid 90's)

    God, Brit, if you think that's bad I advise you not to watch a programme on BBC iplayer this week about the Japanese love of fish. Watching people carve bits off live fish and eat it as the fish lay alive & twiching in front of them was one of the most upsetting things I've seen in a long while.

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  4. Now why can't AA write as amusingly about the telly instead of his usual in the shadow of Clarkson stuff.
    There's a small hotel on the Isle of Skye like that joint called the Three Lums (name changed slightly to avoid litigation) the only item on the menu is pretension, the level of service received is dependent upon the type of car you arrived in.
    Very true Brit, popping a chicken in the shopping bag in Spain usually involves having to wring its neck first. I await with interest your appraisal of the state of the French economy.

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  5. French Food is over rated.

    The key to good food is smaller potions of Meat, which countries like Turkey and India excel in as being poorer, meat becomes a luxury. (Lebanese food and wine also extremely good.)

    So on the current trend English food is due for a big improvement.

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  6. I was also at a Farmer's Market this weekend, one in Union Square in NYC. I had some cold pear cider that was terrible. I did, however, buy a great t-shirt for my son: Four Commanche warriors, holding their rifles (an old photo) stand menacingly in a western landscape. Slogan: "Homeland Security: Fighting terrorism since 1492." An old Indian lady sold it to me, her face wrinkled as an old pear.

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  7. while organic food is not a total remedy it is a lot safer for many than the toxic food offered everywhere else i dont know what you do for health care but the prime directive is first do no harm we could eliminate the great organic farmer threat altogether by requiring other farmers poisoning us i will send them a letter on account of my rheumatism

    auntie social lite

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  8. "Farmers' market" is hardly an inviting term given the rep of most farmers. More likely it's the doolally shotgun-toting xenophobics' and run for your life market.

    Round here it's dodgy DVDs, dubious bric-a-brac, cheap sprouts (warehouse clearance) and biscuits two days off their sell-by date. And probably, if you ask nicely, a bale of dope and a machine-gun. I suppose only urbanites and TV chefs think these places are about food.

    Eat less, enjoy more. I've yet to see a celebrity foodie produce anything better than really good fish and chips. Available near you for the equivalent of just a couple of counterfeit Brangelina DVDs from the "farmers' market".

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  9. "wrinkled as an old pear"

    As an old pear of what?

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  10. Organic carrots are far superior.

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  11. I do not recognise the Farmers Market we go to in your description - or the readers' descriptions. Our FM is ripe with people selling splendid products, from freshly harvested herbs over freshly ground flour (a zillion times better than shop-bought) and a huge variety of cheeses and sausages.
    I've once had a a cut of lamb that wasn't very good, but I'm not letting that come in the way of my thorough enjoyment of all the fresh and tasty stuff I get to buy every month at our local farmers market here in Surrey.

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  12. How can an "Organic Food" market work in an INORGANIC world? This is like expecting your fresh organic apple buried in city waste heap to come out unpolluted. Being organic is just less than one percent of what all other natural environment in its making; the rest being other natural factors about which modern man simply has no idea, and the fundamentals for which one should have an organic vision.

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