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Farm To Table Fables February 9, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Humor, Travel & Leisure.

We went to a talk at the local library on Farm to Table Fables ~ about restaurants owners who claim to serve locally sourced food when they are really selling stuff from Sisco.

According to Laura Reiley, food critic and undercover investigator from the Tampa Bay Times, more than a few upscale restaurants claim to be serving food from their own farms . . . when, on investigation, their farms are nothing more than dried up dust bowls.

In like vein, restaurant owners who claim to be serving “Gulf Shrimp” may not mean local shrimp from the Gulf of Mexico.  Instead, the shrimp might be bleached deveined shrimp shipped in from urine-soaked Gulfs in Asia.

Sellers at Farmer’s Markets who claim to have grown the produce they are selling may be lying . . . many are selling produce rejected by grocery stores.

Word to the wise:  Just because it says so doesn’t make it so.

While the blatant misrepresentations and unsupported claims made about our food are disturbing, Laura was a delight.  She’s an engaging speaker, presenting information in an accessible format accompanied by amusing anecdotes and funny little zingers.

For example, when asked about whether to be concerned about GMOs, she said, “I went to visit Monsanto . . . you know, the Death Star!”

She also discussed her “two Chardonnay sweet spot” ~> when things seem sweeter, funnier, and happier than normal.

Winner, Sandbar Monthly Photo Contest ~ Robert, Bradenton

Tip: to maintain the sweet spot, avoid reaching for that third glass, when melancholy sneaks into the mix!

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related:  The Best Farm-To-Table Restaurant in Every State (Food & Wine)




1. Jill Weatherholt - February 9, 2017

“Just because it says so doesn’t make it so.” Sad, but true. That photograph is incredible!

nrhatch - February 9, 2017

The Sandbar is a Farm to Table restaurant located on the beaches of Anna Maria that partners with several local farms and fisherman to get locally sourced food to serve.

Great food and stunning vistas!

2. joyroses13 - February 9, 2017

Your last picture is so pretty!!
Good post.

3. Don - February 9, 2017

You just don’t know what to believe,Nancy. No wonder we’ve become so sceptical.

nrhatch - February 9, 2017

Unless we grow, raise, harvest, or catch our own food AND cook it ourselves, we don’t really know what we’re eating since so many food “producers” are willing to cut corners to make “mo money.” And no one is policing them ~> food inspectors in the US are focused on HOW the food is stored NOT whether it is what it is professed to be.

So we are left to grope around in the glimmering twilight.

4. Kate Crimmins - February 9, 2017

Just this past weekend we had a discussion on our local farmers market which is open all year. We live in the northeast with real winters. I commented that the farmers market was always much more expensive than any of the local stores when someone said, “Yes, and you know they are not growing the tomatoes or oranges that they are selling.” It made me giggle. Just because it’s called a farmers market does not mean the vendors are farmers. Still, during the summer many do grow some of what they sell (but certainly not the oranges).

nrhatch - February 9, 2017

Exactly right. A farmer’s market does not guarantee that the food is locally grown and sourced . . . but if you ask questions you’ll tend to find a few vendors that you can trust.

5. Becky - February 9, 2017

Getting to know vendors is KEY. I’m super uptight about knowing exactly where our food comes from and since many vendors at our local farmer’s market know I put up enough produce to get my family through the winter, they often give me discounts on buying in bulk when they have an excess. Or will just throw in a case of tomatoes to go with that bushel of peppers I just bought because it’s August and they have it coming out their ears.
Of course, being a gardener helps, because I know what’s in season and what’s struggling, so when a vendor has a bounty of something that seems out of place, I know what questions to ask.

nrhatch - February 9, 2017

At our farmer’s market, it’s about 50/50 farmers who harvested the crops vs. resellers who purchased boxed produce “rejected” by grocery stores. I steer clear of the resellers and gravitate to the real deal ~ many of who offer up some sweet deals . . . as you’ve experienced.

6. anotherday2paradise - February 9, 2017

Gorgeous photos and I agree about the two glasses, although I usually only have one.

nrhatch - February 9, 2017

Same here. I’m not as enthusiastic about alcohol as I once was ~ an occasional beer, glass of wine, or cocktail is plenty.

7. Ally Bean - February 9, 2017

I agree about getting to know the farmers’ market vendors. My favorite one is some older nuns from a nearby convent who only sell lettuces– and an occasional leek. We refer to their produce as “holy lettuce” and look forward to summer when it’s available. The rest of the vendors at the farmers’ market, I don’t think are as honest.

nrhatch - February 9, 2017

One way I’ve gotten to know who’s who . . . the greater the variety for sale, the less likely they grew it themselves.

In contrast, when someone is selling just a few things (holy lettuce and an occasional blessed leek) . . . chances are good that they grew it themselves and had a surplus harvest that week.

8. Val Boyko - February 9, 2017

Sounds like a great evening with a message worth listening to!
Cheers Nancy 🍷🍤🍅🌽

nrhatch - February 9, 2017

The library presents some wonderful speakers. We are never disappointed with the presentations.

9. historyoftelephony - February 9, 2017

Thanks for the heads up. I will have to do some digging the next time i go to the farmers market.

nrhatch - February 9, 2017

Good luck separating the wheat from the chaff.

10. Debra - February 10, 2017

What an interesting lecture! Quality dining can be so expensive, I surely don’t want to pay for misrepresented ingredients. I am sure this was enlightening to hear how proprietors conspire to mislead–and get away with it. Now the two Chard sweet spot is just excellent! 🙂 I hope you have a great weekend, Nancy.

nrhatch - February 10, 2017

The sheer audacity of some of the dishonest proprietors wowed me ~ her investigative reveals revealed to me that “caveat emptor” still applies in the marketplace . . . especially when it comes to food.

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