My memory is not one of my strong points and I am forever on the receiving end of a scolding from Commander J for not regurgitating a tasty morsel of information that is deemed to be of relevance. It is not for any subversive reason that I do this but purely from an overload of daily happenings that cause an overflow in my short term recollection and as a result the smallest items drop off. They surface after a few days or even weeks, usually from a third party and then I have to cook something special to redeem myself.
I do however remember with crystal clarity sitting in my father’s car in the summer of 1988 at the beach listening to Kylie Minogue’s remake of The Locomotion. It was number one on the charts that week and was on air (nauseatingly) every couple of hours. I was on holiday, had just passed my drivers license and was spending as much time as I could burning my skin, quaffing the odd beer and believing my incredible dance steps were actually attractive to the opposite sex.
The flashback was due to the fact that Kylie is in town this week but these days instead of the Locomotion my thoughts are on a different kind of Loco. There is a newish way of thinking that is gaining popularity by a group calling themselves Locavores. (“Locavore” was coined two years ago by a group of four women in San Francisco who proposed that local residents should try to eat only food grown or produced within a 100-mile radius. Other regional movements have emerged since then, though some groups refer to themselves as “localvores” rather than “locavores.” – Oxford University Press.)
I think it is something we should all be reflecting on and it is a philosophy I try to incorporate into my business and personal life. The pork I use is bred locally and wherever possible I try to use the best local ingredients. I have recently developed a salami made with cognac. Rather than use a French import I have chosen Roger Jorgensen’s Savignac brandy. He produces it in Wellington and it is every bit as good as a French cognac and best of all it did not have to travel thousands of kilometers to get here.
I really don’t want to eat an avocado in January that comes from Spain and tastes of water (let’s not even mention the price of that avocado either). I’d rather focus on what is in season, fresh and grown on my doorstep. A passionate proponent of eating local is Matt Allison who has over 40 herbs and vegetables growing in his garden. He has started raising a few chicken too and what he can’t produce for his family, he tries to source locally. He is better known to some as I’m no Jamie Oliver and his blog details his experiences as a stay at home dad navigating the kitchen jungle but his focus has shifted to the ethical sourcing of local foods. He is very shy but if you manage to engage him he is a wonderful source of interesting information. He can be found at the Starlings Urban Market every Wednesday from 4 – 6 selling his produce.
So what is the bottom line? I don’t think we will ever be 100% local. There are no coffee beans growing in Cape Town to my knowledge so that means we have to import that at the very least! But there are some very fine local coffee roasters making superb products and there are some outstanding individuals making excellent cheeses, I’ve mentioned the cognac already and the list goes on and on. All you have to do is take the trouble to find out what you are eating, where it comes from and if you are happy with the answers then go ahead. You can find out the provenance of what you are eating very easily and if you can’t then you should start to wonder why.
Loco is the Spanish word for “crazy” or “madman” which was also used in 1988 to describe my dancing.