Thursday, June 14, 2007

Proximity to the plate

How much do you think about your food?

Do you think about what to put on the shopping list for the store? When you pick that item up at the store, do you think about what it will taste like or where it has come from?

Our life at Swoon is closely tied to the food we prepare and serve. That was our choice when we started in this profession. Over the last few years we have broadened our view beyond just our business to the interrelatedness of all the businesses that touch us and the people that we in turn provide service to. We are a small business in Hudson, NY. We depend on the local economy and the local spirit. We believe that local, sustainable producers of artisanal quality goods are better for the dishes we prepare, and we believe that you know the difference too.

Some of the reasons for our focus on proximity to the plate are just common sense. Some reasons have a broader meaning:
  • If produce, fruit, vegetables, fish, or meat are produced close to us they are fresher when we prepare them.

  • We want to keep our business and money in the community. We hope you will do the same.

  • Local farms are disappearing as the small farm subsidies diminish and land values for property development increase.

  • The "Carbon Footprint" of your plate is a concern and should as small as possible.

We like to focus on simple preparations of local items, and the freshness comes through in the taste. Proximity is relevant, and while we try to keep the distance our food has traveled to us at a minimum, fish must come from the ocean.

We think there is a great spirit for dining in Hudson. It wouldn't be right for us to ask you to dine with us locally, and for us to then not support other local businesses. Our local counties have a good reputation for the agricultural products produced here, so whether you are dining with us or choosing food for your own kitchen, support your local farm stands and farm markets.

It wasn't too long ago that there were hundreds of farms in the area surrounding Hudson. The town started as a shipping port for farm products and other items from the Hudson Valley since Hudson was the northern most navigable port on the Hudson River at that time. Farming and Dairy are turning into large corporate business, with emphasis on production volume and reduced cost.

If your food didn't come from local sources, it had to be moved here to be available to you. More and more fossil fuels are used in the production and delivery of food in the United States. The Climate Crisis is real, and buying local is one step you can take to reduce your impact on the environment.

In the last 10 years there has been an educational awakening about food. More people are "foodies" today than ever before, and recognize the value of better quality artisanal food. This awareness is allowing a new generation of small artisinal farms to flourish in the Hudson Valley and elsewhere. We all take the extra care in producing, selecting and preparing food simply to bring out its taste. That's why we think you care about proximity to the plate.

So that's the story we want to tell in the articles and pictures in this Blog. We make weekly runs to the local farms and as the seasons progress, we want to share with you what is in season and how we use it in our kitchen. We will show you pictures from the fields, and then show you how that product is used at Swoon Kitchenbar. We will write articles like this on various topics that interest us and hopefully you too. We hope you will comment so that we can have a dialog about what we do.

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