Dija Know… Joe’s Restaurant Newsletter -66 Feb 2012

Mary’s Quilt

Mary Olivea’s beautiful and wildly creative quilted art pieces enhance Joe’s walls for a return engagement. Everyone is invited to her Reception and Opening on Sunday Feb 26 from 3:30 – 5:00PM. Refreshments will be served. Mary will make prints of her works available for purchase and her small pieces are also available – see the basket on the wine cabinet.

YES IT’S TRUE – Joe’s is now open on Mondays!
That makes it so much easier to remember –
7 days a week 7:30AM straight through to 9:00PM.

Joel Salatin has a new book out – Folks, This Ain’t Normal. Joel was prominently featured in Michael Pollan’s paradigm-changing book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Joel, a hardheaded food purist, wants Big Government out of his fields. His beautiful self-sustaining Polyface Farm is located in VA and is a near perfect template for the local sustainable food-production movement that is swelling every year in the United Sates of America. We are getting the message. You 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. Joel’s book has arrived and is for sale here.

Our next events: SF Restaurant Week starts Sunday March 4th – Roland is creating a special prix fixe menu to be pulblished any day now! 24.95 per person. Following that, our famous St. Patrick’s Day Corned Beef and Cabbage will be on the menu starting Monday Mar 12 for the whole week.

Been thinking a lot about farming lately. Our food supply is at risk. Real truly nutritious food is on the endangered list. How so? you ask. Farmers markets are everywhere today and if you want to, you can eat local sustainably grown food every day. The SF Farmers Market is 10 times the size it was 20 years ago. And that is marvelous. Yes but (don’t you hate“yes buts”?). Yes but the truth is – if everyone in Santa Fe woke up one morning and resolved to eat 80% regionally grown food we’d be in trouble by noon. I’ll get back to that in a moment.
When I had a healing practice (come on folks, this is Santa Fe – doesn’t everyone have a healing practice?) I looked for what I call the cause of the cause of the cause of conditions that came my way, be they equine or human. I would look beyond symptoms searching for fundamental imbalances, deficiencies, stored trauma and beyond. Now back to our ailing food supply. Please remember I’m not talking about Big Farma – industrialized subsidized pesticized straight line mono crop mega farms that have raped our topsoils and bought out America’s richest farm land, producing an abundance of shelf-stable corn chips and other de-natured tummy fillers. I’m talking about individually owned farms growing life-enhancing food. With industrialization and technology, we thought we had all the answers. Whoops.
Did you happen to notice that small snowstorm we had before Christmas that shut down I-40 for a day? Well we did – our big food suppliers could not get in. Santa Fe food shelves looked alarmingly empty. Only one day of distribution disruption!
Back to the cause of the cause of the cause …
Di ja know … for every farmer in the USA under age 35 there are 6 over 67. Over 67! Yikes. It can’t be easy to pull rutabagas when you’re pushing 70.
Here’s where I’m going. Farming as a career choice has fallen off the chart. When was the last time you asked someone about their career ambitions and got the answer, “I’m considering farming” ?
Maybe never? My point exactly.
Perhaps farming doesn’t sound hip or trendy and the title doesn’t carry “status”. Our schools have churned out lots of architects, lawyers, fashion designers, actors, chefs, medical professionals, computer scientists, business majors, you name it — all necessary professions. Sadly thousands of these professionals are now unemployed. Is growing food for a living so close to our noses that we can’t even see it as a career option? Or is it so far removed from our day to day living that it’s off our radar?
Hopefully we can change that. Change perceptions and re-ignite in people a passion for growing things. Remind young families that farming can be a deeply satisfying, fundamentally essential pursuit, that they will never go hungry and that they can never be laid off. There is no better time than now to restore farming as a career choice. Once you get a small growing operation started, you are less than 5 years away from turning it into a viable venture. There is growing demand for high quality food. Of course farming has a learning curve and requires considerable skills. I would suggest that there are many local farmers who would take on an apprentice and teach them the skills needed in return for labor. This is more than a “back to the earth” hippie plea. We are in a desperate situation. The dearth of small-scale farming renders us dependent upon massive and increasingly expensive distribution systems. Systems that can be disabled with one snowstorm or a hike in gas prices. For our food supply to return to a normal and healthy balance, we should be able to eat 80% of our meals from locally produced goods. Chocolate and coffee I would travel days for on a burrow through burning sands, but meat and potatoes, veggies and corn need to be locally grown and available. Let me take a paragraph from my cousin’s latest Christmas letter. She is a 60+ Saskatchewan farmer. Note the optimism and pride in the last sentence even after a not-so-good year.
“ As for the rest of the year, it was up and down: we had an over abundance of snow, and with all the snow and then the rain, the flowers were more beautiful than ever, and the durum crop was the best Dale has ever seen on this farm . . . Seeding was difficult in the wet ground . . . (however) we look forward to the next year of farming as always!”
Farming is not easy. What endeavor is? But it is a real solid viable and fundamentally essential career option. For the good of us all, I hope more people will consider it.

If you have followed these newsletters (all of the back issues are available at JoesdDining.com or on the table near the curved glass window), you are aware of my low opinion of fractionated foods – foods that are separated from their natural formulations. For example, I abhor skim milk and low fat products, decaffeinated coffee, egg white omelettes – you get the idea. My feeling about committing these atrocities to food is that whites and yolks belong together for a reason, that the fat content of milk is there for a reason and why the heck drink simulated coffee if you don’t want the “buzz”? Some of this feeling can actually be backed by science. We have been learning in the last 15 or so years how vitally important fats are to brain function (and many other functions). In fact in the case of skim milk, once the fat is removed, processors then must turn summersaults to recapture the texture that we are accustomed to. To do so they often add powdered milk which contains oxidized cholesterol, which is much worse for arteries that naturally occurring cholesterol. So, to compensate for that toxic assault, antioxidants are added. Not such a simple food anymore. And of course removing fat from food, makes it eversomuch harder for your body to absorb fat-soluble vitamins, like the marvelous hormone-like substance we call Vitamin D. What a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive, as Sir Walter Scott said. The bottom line is (at least as I see it) the less we mess with food, the more whole natural food we eat just the way it grows, the better our bodies understand how to process and utilize it for our benefit.

Watch for the launch of some new menu items, one of which will take Joe’s burgers to a whole new level! At this time, a couple of new appetizers have parked themselves on the main menu. Check out Roland’s homemade Cheesy Tato Tots and a New Mexico standard – the Nacho Plate topped with grass-finished NM beef.

The reports for 2011 aren’t quite in, but at first glance it would appear we have again exceeded the former year’s expenditures on local farm food. What we do know is that we spent well over 30% of our food budget on locally grown foods.

We recently revisited our mission statement. We already had one, but in reviewing it, it was rambling and full of platitudes that everyone says. You know – to be the best, to offer the most, to exceed the expectations of absolutely every person on the planet – same as Apple or IBM or Coke. So after some deep thought we are comfortable with this –

Joe’s mission is:
To strengthen our health,
to protect our land,
to grow our economy
by serving local sustainable food.

Free food! With a Joe’s gift card for $100 (when you pay with a check or cash) it is programmed to give you an additional $10 worth of food free. This is our “frequent diner” card.

Joe’s hand-made French chocolate truffles. Do you know anyone who wouldn’t love a little red bag of divine truffles? $1.99 @ or 6 for the price of 5 — $9.95
Are you on Joe’s check list? Are you using your credit cards less frequently? I know we are and somehow it is liberating. Far less paperwork and fees and more fees. Then there are the regulations – they change frequently and always in the BB’s (big banks) favor. We as taxpayers have contributed generously to the BB’s bailouts and their CEOs’ mega bonuses. Well, enough is enough. Here at Joe’s we are going retro and will do what we can to encourage guests to pay by personal check and of course time-honored cash and precious metals! So if you are a “regular” and wish to pay by check, please ask your waiter to get you on Joe’s check list.

YES IT’S TRUE – Joe’s is now open on Mondays!
That makes it so much easier to remember –
7 days a week 7:30 a.m. straight through to 9:00p.m.