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FEATURE ARTICLE - FROM FIELDS, FOREST AND SPARKLING SEAS

From Fields, Forests and Sparkling Seas

Artisanal Food Producers and
Fruits of Their Labor

By Marty Olmstead

A century ago, farmers, cheese makers and other small food producers weren’t called artisans. Back then, before refrigerated trucks, high technology and mass marketing, providing food was by nature a strictly local undertaking. But with the advent of mega-farms and McDonald’s, foodstuffs by and large lost their distinctive local quality. Unable to compete with the distribution networks of huge conglomerates that could operate on a slim profit margin, many small producers were elbowed out of the marketplace.

Now the pendulum has swung back, at least somewhat, as consumers long for produce, cheese, bread and specialty items that they feel confident come from dedicated artisans who take pride in their craft. This niche market has been nurtured by developments such as the Slow Food Movement and more importantly, the Internet, which figuratively brings customers to the producers’ doorstep.

As a remedy to the blandness of mechanization and industrial farming, the people profiled below bring passion and personality to the products they grow, harvest, culture, and otherwise bring to our tables. The fruits of their labor express a particular piece of land, the characteristics of a certain breed of animal raised with respect, an almost-lost food tradition or the alchemy of what occurs when raw ingredients are transformed, with care and attention to detail, into food that sustains more than just the body.

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MAR/APR 2005
TABLE OF CONTENTS

FEATURE ARTICLES
Artisanal Food Producers
  • MEAT- Prized Poultry
  • CHEESE - A Cultured Affair
  • PRODUCE - Northern Delights
  • SEAFOOD - Deep Waters
  • SPICES - Exotic Spices
Stellar Sips - American Wine Bars
  • Wine Storage
  • Tips - Home Wine Bar
FOOD & WINE
ON THE RADAR
SOCIAL TOAST
BITS & BITES


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