Peppers and Tulips
The New York Times has been running an excellent series of articles called "The Food Chain: A Moveable Feast," the latest of which ran this past Saturday. In the paper edition it was called "Would You Like Some Carbon with your Kiwi?" (um, no thank you), and it discusses the EU's plan to tax fuel for international freight. And so, the EU continues to be ahead of the curve (er, ahead of the US) in its commitment to reducing greenhouse gases.
Reading about the transfer of foodstuffs back and forth across the globe, we were reminded of a passage from Carlo Petrini's Slow Food Nation, called "Peppers and Tulips." He describes going to a favorite restaurant in Asti, in 1996, and being saddened to discover that his usual dish–peperonata made with the local peppers of Asti–no longer had its wonderful flavor. When he asked the chef about this difference, the chef reported that nobody in Asti was growing these peppers anymore because it was cheaper to import them from Holland.
Driving home, despondent, Carlo passed some greenhouses, the very greenhouses that likely used to grow peppers. Going inside to talk to the farmer, he asked what was now growing there. The answer?
"'Tulip bulbs! And after we've grown the bulbs, we send them to Holland where they bring them into bloom!'"
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