Great article in the SF Chronicle today on how Whole Foods is responding to criticisms raised in the Omnivore's Dilemma and the correspondence between the book's author, Michael Pollan, and Whole Foods' CEO, John Mackey. In addition to buying more from local farmers, the article cites several other initiatives underway at Whole Foods:
-- Give $10 million a year in low-interest loans to help small, local
farmers and producers of grass-fed and humanely raised meat, poultry and dairy
-- Raise its standards of humane care for the animals who supply meat,
eggs and dairy to the stores. Whole Foods has hired an "animal compassionate
field buyer" to work with producers to ensure that they meet the standards.
-- Set up Sunday farmers' markets in the parking lots of some Whole Foods
stores, including about 10 in Northern California.
I have a lot of respect for John Mackey and I'm glad to see these changes coming about as Whole Foods is uniquely positioned to positively influence the growing market and demand for organic, locally-grown, and humane food. This is definitely a good thing.
Sweet Meats Plush Toys = cutest meat plush toys ever and who doesn't need meat plush toys? These three will be adorning my couch. Not pictured here: the "Racka Ribs" and "Hot Links." [via Cute Overload].
I love good food and I love to eat, and I sure do appreciate someone who can conjure up words that do justice to either and that's why I look forward to Fatted Calf's weekly email newsletter. An excerpt from this week's:
The drama continues this weekend when notoriously good Knoll Farm Figs are carefully encased in a petite boule of our sausage and then gingerly stuffed up the rump of a plump, brined Hoffman Farm Quail. These lusty concoctions are gorgeous when roasted and positively sing when grilled. Plunge in your fork and witness the hot figgy lava flow onto your plate beckoning you with its honeyed perfume to take a bite.
In a paper called “Stardust Over Paris,” two economists, Olivier Gergaud from
the University of Reims and Vincenzo Verardi at the Free University of Brussels,
and a mathematician, Linett Montaño Guzmán, looked at how much a Michelin star —
a special designation of dining quality — is worth.
Receiving a Michelin star increases prices in a Parisian restaurant by 20
percent, controlling for measures of quality, décor and location.
Michelin-starred restaurants in fancy hotels, or in areas with other
Michelin-starred restaurants, also have higher prices, again adjusting for
quality. Diners are paying more to eat in fine or prestigious surroundings,
whether or not the food is better. One gastronomy expert, speaking in Le Nouvel
Observateur, noted, “Gaining a Michelin star ensures that your banker will be
kind to you.”
For those who hold the food as their main concern, the researchers offer a
way forward. Dr. Verardi and Dr. Gergaud have built an index for overpriced and
underpriced restaurants, relative to their food. They use the Zagat
Survey to Parisian restaurants — whose popularity rankings are generated by
diners’ reports, not critics — to provide an independent measure of customer
satisfaction, which is then compared with price.