Sunday, June 27, 2010

Pelé & Pickles

I've been a bit distracted from the food business, what with all the soccer and kittens and the dyke marches and hot days that require dipping in lakes, streams, baby pools, and oceans.

Yes, we've trapped some kittens at the Beacon train station that need homes, so if you know anybody interested and responsible, please have them email The three we've caught so far are all boys, all super playful and sweet.

One of the rescued kittens we're trying to find a home for got named Pelé. I was obsessed with Pelé as a kid, since my #1 soccer team was green and I was #10. Alas, I wasn't great at the sport. (I was obsessed with Muhammad Ali, too, but never inspired to take up boxing.) I'm not much of a sports follower, since I think they're much nicer to participate in than to watch on tv, but the World Cup is an exception. I was proud to be sitting under a magazine cover of Pelé while watching Ghana knock out the U.S. Thank goodness we had vuvuzelas, because we would have otherwise been unheard in that sweaty little bar of people chanting "U.S.A.". Rooting for other countries elicits funny responses from people: the Brazil flag hung outside our house got our neighbor to immediately put our her U.S. flag. She's not interested in soccer, only patriotism.
wintergreens is struggling to figure out its future (it's cool to be transparent about this, right?), since running a food biz or org these days is challenging. Other handmade food biz people talk about how amazingly time-consuming and expensive it is to do, and it's true, it is. It's outrageous! I shouldn't have, but I bought a huge watermelon this weekend that, of course, was shipped from far south, since our watermelons won't be ripe for a long time. All that shipping and handling, and all the effort to grow that melon, and it only cost $2.99. And it's one of those creepy seedless kind, so you can't even save the seeds to plant next year. How are small food producers to deal with this? It's hard for me to resist my frugal impulses, even, with all the information about food systems I have, and while in the middle of a struggle to promote food-done-right. Exhibit A: cheapo seedless watermelon from far away.

I looked at the wares of Brooklyn pickle makers Brooklyn Brine and McClure's in Whole Foods in the city. I support what they're doing, but would I have to can or vaccuum pack my pickles (kill off half of their good qualities) and sell them for $11 a jar to make it? To many, that price tag would be laughable.
Thinking about all this is a bummer. And I read this dumpster diver's blog and think that if I were truly brave I'd cut out some of my (personal, not business) costs this way. Back in college, when Dunkin Donuts instructed their employees to dump bleach on the donuts they threw away so that the homeless people wouldn't eat them, my friend invited all the neighborhood homeless people to the shop an hour before closing, gave them all the donuts, and served free coffee. She was fired, so her good deed and hard work doing outreach went unrewarded. How do you make good work rewarding enough that you get to continue it?

So let's just say I've been happy to be in kitten land and soccer land, and plot how and when I'll get to the beach. I have to get back to work though, so help me find these kitties homes, and send your hot tips for how to survive in the handmade food business.

I promise, new recipes, tales of prison food, and much more coming soon.

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