environment

Farmers Markets

6 comments

First off... I had a bit of a mental lapse on my last post, with regards to the Granville Island beer. I had somehow forgot that almost all Granville Island beer is actually brewed in Kelowna... therefore, GIB is out (though I still have to finish the case in my fridge). On the bright side... I tried the Phillips Draft Dogder yesterday, and I'm gonna have to concede that it's my new favorite all around beer. Even more so than New Belgium's Fat Tire.

Anyway, the west end farmer's market started today, so I decided to walk over and see if I could find some good stuff. I ended spending almost $70 on food (a little more than planned, but hey, what can you do?). The west end farmers market is at most 1/2 the size of the trout lake one, but still good variety. I was hoping I'd be able to find some more fruit there, but I guess a lot of it doesn't come out until more mid-summer. I ended up buying salmon (smoked and fresh), cheese, beef, strawberries, raspberries, bread, some veggies, salsa, and a few other things. The cheese was from Little Qualicum Cheeseworks in Parksville. From what I've been able to find so far, they seem like one of the few local cheesemakers that makes both hard and soft cheeses (I'm pretty sure all of the gulf islands ones just do soft cheeses for the most part). The beef and strawberries came from Forstbauer natural foods. They seem pretty cool, all their beef is grass fed and they also sell eggs and a variety of fruits and veggies... they're a "biodynamic" farm just outside of Abbotsford. I'll let you know if I think can taste a difference from the "grain fed" beef I've always eaten.

Random fact #1: 100 mile house is 100 miles from Lillooet.

Random fact #2: Apparently my blog is the 2,261,228th most visited site on the web. w00t!. I think my goal for 2007 is going to be to get it below 1,000,000. Of course, that might mean blogging more frequently, but whatever.

Food.

8 comments

I'm currently reading the Omnivores Dilemma, which is a far cry from my standard reading list of reference manuals and api documentation. I use to think I knew a little bit about food, I generally try to buy organic and local foods if I can. If I've learned one thing from this book it's how little I actually know, both about processed and organic foods. If anything, it's solidified my belief that buying local is the way to go, for several reasons. I was briefly chatting with someone about the book the other day and he brought up the 100 mile diet (the 100 mile diet, is a diet that permits eating any food grown [and processed] within 100 miles of where you live). I guess that triggered something for me, because since then I've been all like "dang. i should get on that 100 mile diet bandwagon".

So, to the point of my post... I'm going to try and do a [somewhat half assed] hundred mile diet this summer. I'm not sure of the best approach to get started, but for the sake of my sanity, and health, going cold turkey off non local food might be a bad idea. Some of my thoughts...

  • I'm gonna start with trying to just do 2-4 days of "100 mile" food.
  • As I get into it I'd like to do full weeks, but I still want to be able to eat out occasionally and have dinner at friends' places. So I'll need to make some provisions there... and find some good not-to-crazy-expensive restaurants that serve local food.
  • On the topic of restaurants though... even to start with (on non-100 mile days) I'll be trying to support restaurants with a more local food selection (even if it's just the lettuce, beer, and wine).
  • Foods that I can't "live" without... olive oil, balsamic vinegar, chocolate, etc. I think that perhaps if the food can't be grown in this climate, I can probably make an exception for it :). My only restriction here is that it needs to be (animal and human) cruelty free.
  • Beer, bread, and other locally produced food (yes, beer is food). While it is possible to get wheat and barley within 100 miles of Vancouver... there's not much, and I would imagine that 99.99% of all bread and beer made within 100 miles of Vancouver is using prarie grain. For my sanity... locally made beer and bread are OK. Of course, this means one of my favorite breweries as of late, Nelson, is out. But Russell, R&B, Phillips, Red Truck (i.e. Yaletown), Storm, and of course Granville Island, are all a-ok.
  • Okanagan fruit. I don't know what to do about this one yet. I guess I'll see what's available in the lower mainland first.

So I think that's my plan for now. I'm pretty sure the condiments are gonna get me though. It should be pretty fun though, especially in the summer. Vancouver's hundred miles has a ton of variety.

Pet Peeves

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Happy Friday :). I'm feeling kind of ranty today, so... here are some of my pet peeves for Friday, June 1, 2007:

  1. When it's 21 Degrees outside (actually, probably hotter than that where I am), why am I cold while inside? 15 Degrees isn't a good temperature to work in... even when it's hot outside. PLEASE turn down your air conditioner! (and by "down" I mean, make it hotter) Honestly, people complain for months that they want summer and hot weather... then as soon as it comes, crank up the A/C, so much so that you have to wear a jacket inside to be comfortable.
  2. I realize that you don't know me... but does that mean you can't even acknowledge my existence when you're about to travel between 2 and 19 stories in a 3'x6' elevator with me? When someone says "hey", or "hi", or nods (often accompanied by some sort of grunting sound), the common protocol is to at least acknowledge them back. Maybe it's just those dang Yaletown people.
  3. The term "pet peeves", wtf does that even mean? I hate the term... please stop using it. Thank you.
  4. The boringness of my blog. You know, like content, look and feel, etc. What do you mean that's my fault?
  5. When people follow a sentence about global warming, with a sentence bitching about the "high" gas prices. This is mostly the "news", mind you, as opposed to individuals. While I'm on the topic... a 1L bottle of water from the same gas station you're buying the gas from is gonna cost you more than 1L of gasoline.

That's all for now (at least for the next few minutes, until I remember a really good one, that I forgot to post here). The weather's great, so let's all go outside for a smoke... oh, and be sure to stand directly in front of the entrance so that everyone has to fight through a cloud of smoke to get through.

My thoughts, for Earth Day 2007

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Happy birthday Earth! That's right, the earth was born 4.57 billion years ago on this day. The environmental topic for the media these days seems to be global warming, so I'll talk about it too. A couple weeks back I found this great "right wing" t-shirt stop global whining. I liked it, both because of the irony of me wearing it, and because I was already starting to get pissed off with all the global warming BS. Not because I don't think it's an issue, but because there are so many other issues getting swept under the carpet because of it. Apparently everything negative is caused by global warming now, too hot, too cold, rain storms, wind storms, earthquakes, hurricanes, car accidents, obesity, seal hunting, etc. (and no, I have no references to backup my claims :)). Sure, the earth warming up a few degrees is bound to cause problems, and reducing green house gasses is probably a Good Thing. But you know what, dumping raw and toxic sewage in our oceans, lakes, and rivers, clear cutting tropical rain forests, over fishing, GMO food, pesticides, lacing everything we use and wear with poisonous chemicals such as fire retardant and Teflon, nuclear waste, and filling up our landfills with toxins and materials that won't degrade for thousands of years aren't so great either. Most of those things can be much more easily fixed than global warming and may possibly have a much greater long term impact (did you know that half of Earth's oxygen comes from plankton, you thought the polar ice caps melting was bad news... wait until we run out of oxygen).

In addition to everything being caused by global warming, apparently everything is also a solution to global warming. From emitting more green house gasses to dumping iron in the oceans to urban planning (imagine, not commuting 100km to work everyday, I can't!). Don't even get me started on hybrids (dang! you just did). Honestly, you think a car that gets you 10 more miles to the gallon in city driving is going to save the environment? And who's buying the hybrid SUVs? Are you serious? Hey, I just bought an SUV, I'm saving the environment! How about considering the harmful effects of building and disposing of batteries used in hybrids (oh, but that doesn't cause global warming, so it must be ok). Buy a second hand fuel efficient car if you want to help. The Real Cost (tm) is in production and disposal anyway. So, in summary, stop whining about global warming and do something about it (buying a new hybrid and watching an inconvenient truth don't count, sorry).

Now, onto another topic... tupperware! FUN! I was eating out with Ariane the other night (someone who ALWAYS takes home a doggy bag :-p) and we've talked about bringing our own tupperware to bring home restaurant leftovers before, but this time I got a wicked idea. First, think of the benefits:

  1. reusable containers to reduce waste
  2. you don't have to wait for your server to bring your food back to the kitchen
  3. if you had someone who may have been rude to your server, you can be sure that nothing will happen to your food when it goes back to the kitchen (cause it won't be going back :)).

Out in the 'burbs it may not have been so embarrassing to take some tupperwares to dinner... however, in Yaletown, I've noticed that some people can be a bit snobby (or at least that's the stereo type, which is good enough for me ;)), and may give you dirty looks for bringing in 15 year old tupperwares to pack your food in. So... wait for it... stylish tupperwares! That's right, tupperwares that even a classic Yaletown yuppie would be seen walking around with.

I don't know if they exist already, but if someone's going to buy an SUV to help save the environment, someone will surely buy stylish tupperware (like me!).