There can be no doubt it’s a small world, but there are times when it’s so small you just have to stop in amazement. The global supply chain that helped make the device you’re reading right now touches most everything in our lives. And it doesn’t just extend to things either. Earlier this month, in fact, we were happy to see friends from Ireland who had flown into New York on a direct flight not to Newark or JFK, but to Newburgh, New York, of all places. Who knew?
It’s safe to say some bean counter did the math and figured out you could turn a decent profit moving people to places that are out of the way (i.e., inexpensive), but not so remote for folks in major densely-populated areas who would still be willing to make the trip (i.e., Uber).
It’s a small world, and the walls are closing in every day. To us in the local food movement, however, it was already small. I’m not even sure it could get smaller. Bean counters be damned. We know what we want, and we don’t reverse-engineer our work product from the starting point of profit. That’s not to say what we make is illogical or doomed to be unprofitable. (Let’s hope not, at least.) Today, our global perspective makes local counter-intuitive. Nonetheless, it is a timeless concept that would be hard to perfect at this point. What few ways there are to fine-tune the concept will surely be the subject of future postings in this blog, so stay tuned.
We love local, but should also point out that we also love to travel and experience food, art and culture abroad. It was Mark Twain who said: “Broad, wholesome, charitable views … cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth.”We couldn’t agree more. In fact, this summer was a fantastic opportunity to expand our worldview and palate by visiting family in Geneva, where dairy production borders on art.
We ate our way across a swathe of Switzerland for a good part of June, living on malakoff, raclette, and other indigenous fare, but the food we remain most connected to is what we came home to. Like most Europeans, the Swiss tend to favor their own local cuisine, so I’m sure my Swiss family would understand my personal bias towards the bounty of the Hudson Valley. I'm referring to New York heavy cream and butter, as well as the grass the cows live on, the soil, and even the rain. Call it “candy terroir.” Like a vineyard with its own distinct soil shaped by centuries of environmental factors, both known and unknown, our farm-based caramels have a special “je ne sais quoi” that makes them unique.
With all humility, as well as gratitude to the purveyors of every ingredient we use, we believe in the singularity of local. In other words, we believe there is nothing like our caramels in the entire world. That’s a bold claim, but that’s the essence of all things local.
You are what you eat. Indeed, you are where you eat as well.