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The birth of taste bud memories

 

Tomayto, tomawto – however you choose to say it, we have just planted our tiny starters for Joe’s patio. Every year Dave Fresquez from Monte Vista Organics gives us a few tomato plants.
Tracking their growth, shows us when Margherita Pizza season starts. That is when luscious, soil-grown, sun-ripened heirloom tomatoes whose color spectrum reaches from deep purple, bright yellow, green striped to ruby red in sizes ranging from pea to small melon are ready to be harvested.  When these tomatoes are married with basil and fresh, on premise made mozzarella, tastebud memories are made.  Until you have eaten a Joe’s Margherita Pizza I can say without reservation you have not eaten a Margherita Pizza! Hold yer horses though.  The thing is…we make it only when the local tomatoes are ready and only Mother Nature knows exactly when that will be.

A change in our liquor laws.  June 16, just in time for Fathers’ Day, our wise NM Senate spent considerable time granting responsible adults the freedom to drink a mimosa (or any other alcoholic treat) one hour earlier on Sundays. Careful now. You know how mimosas at 11am can sneak up on you, unlike mimosas at noon!

Please reserve early for our Fathers’ Day Special  Prix Fixe Menu.  At 24.95 for 3 courses, it will be a busy day.  We’ll start serving it at 11am and all day until we run out.  Ask to see the menu.  Reserving and pre-paying by Tuesday June 11 is a win-win situation – we can better guage the flow of tables and you get 20% off!

I promise to get off this GMO subject in subsequent newsletters but for now it dominates the food industry. Nothing in our shared experience on this planet has prepared us for the global and cataclysmic effects of genetic engineering.  Trumping all other food supply issues is that of genetically modified food. It’s a genie that cannot be put back into the bottle.  When first I was alerted to and started writing about GMO, I felt a little lonely.  Now, 4 years later, it is a household word!  Disturbing results are emerging from tracking generations of animals fed GM feeds.  The sad story of Indian farmers, whose livelihood has been destroyed by planting Biotech seed, is being reported.  Whole Foods (previously not one of my favorites for their claiming to but not buying local) has the clout to, and will require GM content in food be labeled within 5 years.  Voices like Michael Pollan (Omnivore’s Dilemma, Cooked), Joel Salatin (Folks This Ain’t Normal and owner of Polyface Farms), Jeffrey Smith (Seeds of Deception, Genetic Roulette) and others are speaking out against Monsanto and biotech food. Despite neither CA nor NM passing a labeling bill, work goes on at grass roots levels that will ultimately enable or force the USA to join 64 other countries in either banning GM content or at least requiring GMO to be labeled.  In the US as much as 90% of corn, soy, sugar beets, cotton and canola is GMO. Can you see how that impacts processed foods in your average grocery store or corporate food outlet? Almost nothing is exempt.
Well, except locally grown foods when you know your grower (KYG)!  That is our relatively safe haven.  Why do I say relatively?  Because, even if your favorite farmers avoid GMO seed, perhaps their neighbors do not.  That is the insidious nature of this beast.  Seeds fly in the wind.  Birds carry seed.  There is no assurance that even an “organic” field of corn has not been contaminated with GMO seed!  The ultimate insult to a vegetarian – how do you know you are not eating a beef gene in your carrot?
Besides KYG (Know your grower) what else can the average non-activist do?   Monsanto has become the symbol for genetic engineering.  Avoid their products – seeds sold by biotech friendly companies (newsletter #84), Round-up and other Monsanto products.  When food shopping, ask your grocer when they are going to demand GMO labeling.   And because eating out is a way of life for most of us these days, choose restaurants that cook from scratch and who buy local foods.  I know it can be difficult with fast-rising prices.  And real whole clean local food is more expensive than corporate industrialized “food-like products”.  But as I have said before, you either pay now (buying good unmessed-with food) or pay later (with prescriptions, surgeries and debility).   I paraphrase from Michael Pollan here – Food corporations buy the cheapest possible food, dress it up with lots of additives – they have to because it was cooked so long ago and so far away.  Darden and Yum brands are two of the biggest food corporations.  Darden is Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Long Horn and Yum is Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut.  McDonald’s is it’s own corporation.  They are so powerful and ubiquitous they have changed the way America grows food, views food and eats food.
All that said, being against something does not change it.  Being for something does.  Monsanto after all, is comprised of people too.  Aunts, brothers, babies, moms, nephews – all subject to the same environmental assaults as we all are.  Will Monsanto as a corporation ever see that profit is not everything?  I doubt it.  But the individuals that make up Monsanto will.  As individuals we can each do a little with our daily choices.  Collectively it all adds up.  Awareness is the first step.

>>>  NEWSFLASH updated June 2 2013

Growing Anti-GMO Sentiment Around The World

http://eatlocalgrown.com/article/11583-kansas-farmer-sues-monsanto-over-rogue-wheat-discovery.html 

Roland joined the March on Monsanto on Saturday May 25, starting at the Farmers Market and ending at the Round House. There were far more marchers than anticipated.  It was part of a protest that took place in cities all over the globe. Monsanto controls much of the world’s food supply at the expense of food democracy worldwide. They are not the only company involved.  Bayer is another.  However Bayer has at least fessed up and admitted “it has been unable to control the spread of its genetically-engineered organisms despite ‘the best practices [to stop contamination]’. It shows that all outdoors field trials or commercial growing of GE crops must be stopped before our crops are irreversibly contaminated.”  Monsanto on the other hand makes no such admissions and continues to weild its considerable power with an army of federal lobbyists and attorneys. We were puzzled when we saw no local press coverage of this important event.  Please inform me if I’m wrong.

Breaking news – Please google – US discovery of rogue wheat.
Here’s a personal experience with genetically modified cotton. Roland had stored his gym bag over the winter in a shed on our property.  There were 3 items in the bag.  Two were verifiably non-GMO cotton (a Joe’s tee shirt made with organic cotton and a pair of socks from Canada so old – 25 yers old! – that they could not be GMO). These 2 items were chewed up and riddled with holes, no doubt enjoyed by the resident mice.  The third item was a newer cheap tee shirt made from conventionally grown GMO cotton.  It was not touched by the mice.  Very interesting.

The surest way to know the quality of your food is to either GYO* or KYG*.  At Joe’s we depend heavily on KYG, an acronym we coined several years ago.  The designation “organic” has been severely compromised and is therefore not indicative of high quality or intact nutritive value, although it CAN be, if you know who grew it.  Lately the US has been importing great quantities of Chinese “organic” foods. With multiple recent food scandals, those who can afford to are turning to organic food.   Now, for those who pay any attention to agri business anywhere, but perhaps especially in China, questions are being raised about the quality of food labelled “organic”. Quality and profits do an endless dance. Organic farming is costly, time-consuming, and slow to return on investment. According to Chinese press, “this meant mostcompanies compromised on quality.” Lin Jian, who runs his own organic farm near Beijing, visited some of the farms … what he saw unsettled him.  “Empty pesticide bags were littered all over the fields,”  Even if Chinese regulatory

agencies have high standards of production, it appears those regulations are unenforeced and perhaps unenforceable.
*GYO – grow your own      *KYG – know your grower

Why is locally grown food so very important to Joe’s?  Why do we keep hammering on this “buy local” theme?There are many factors that are out of our hands when it comes to our food supply.  Most of what ends up on the American dinner table derives from a shockingly few giant agribusinesses.  Their influence reaches from designing the (GMO) seeds to planting, harvesting, processing and shipping. We as consumers cannot with confidence hand over the entire stewardship of our food to these few multinationals. Our passion here at Joe’s is for a local sustainable food supply – food produced by growers who are accountable for what they grow.  KYG – Know Your Grower.  We are able to look our local farmer in the eye and ask him about his growing practices or even visit his operation. This gives us the confidence that we are eating food that is healthy, wholesome, non-genetically engineered, often better than organic, humanely treated and minimally processed.  It is grown with a smaller energy-use footprint and transported short distances. We cannot divorce human health, the economy, ecology, personal (perhaps spiritual) satisfaction or honorable work from food.Food is fundamental. What we eat, where it comes from, the stewardship of food animals, the nurturing and building of soils – all these factors affect us at a cellular and visceral level … whether we slow down enough to be aware of it or not. We are fortunate in Santa Fe to have a dedicated farm base producing a wonderful array of goods.  Here at Joe’s we do our best to offer this bounty to you, keeping dollars in the community.  In the interest of transparency, in 2008 Joe’s spent $30,000 on local foods.  In 2009 that increased to $60,000.  And for 2012 we exceeded $100,000.  During the growing season as much as 95% of our menu is locally sourced.
Land, economy, health – inseparable.

Here are some of the farmers/ranchers we have developed long-standing partnerships with – Monte Vista Organics (Dave and Loretta), Camino de Paz Farm & School (Greg & Patty), Shepherd’s Lamb (Antonio and Molly), La Mont’s Buffalo (Monte and Lana), Green Tractor Farms (Tom and Mary), Synergia Ranch (Mark), La Montanita Co-Op, Matt Romero Farms, Sweetgrass Co-Op.

Joe’s “frequent diner” or gift card – when you purchase $100 gift card with cash or check, get a $10 card free!

Giggles: “And God promised men that good obedient wives would be found in all corners of the world.  Then He made the earth round…and laughed and laughed and laughed.

Joe’s
2801 Rodeo Rd (at Zia Rd) Santa Fe, NM   87507
505-471-3800       www.JoesDining.com
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