Dija Know… Joe’s Dining Newsletter -64, January 2012


We saw the whales in Los Cabos! Simply magnificent.

Yes we finally took a vacation. Way back in April, we won an auction at the Culinary Arts Ball. So Jan 2 we were off to a beautiful all inclusive resort in the Baja. It was a truly magical week and the break was very welcome. The service and accommodations were impeccable.  The food presentation was stellar. As restaurant owners we are never really “off duty”.  We are keenly interested in how others achieve the successful results they do. Recognizing the unique challenge of having to supply 5 restaurants (the resort was huge) and get out a consistent visually appealing product, we noticed (and our bodies noticed) in order to achieve this, they had to forego using all the fresh local fish and veggies available right there around them.  Instead they used mostly highly processed and frozen ingredients. We realized that operations of that size just cannot achieve these results  – a consistent visually appealing product – by using fresh local foods.  Wow.  We determined then and there that we were on the right track dedicated to local often-organic food buying and of course bringing it to you.  By the way, we would go back, it was that enjoyable (maybe foregoing the meal plan).

And by the way muchas gracias to our staff for the great job they did while we were away!

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 became accustomed to looking 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