Mar 20, 2009

Oh, the dairy smells divine!

We ran our first "big" batch of vanilla bean yogurt last night and the entire building smells absolutely wonderful! (I say "big" because we have run small test samples to tweak the flavor but this is the first time we have done an entire batch of yogurt destined for market as flavored. All four gallons worth.) I want to move the yogurt vat into the livingroom so my entire house could smell that way!

I cannot wait to bring this to market! I feel like my baby just started walking or something!

In other news, Spring must be in the air...daughter Katarina was out yesterday working on her raised garden beds. It isn't limited to Swede Farm, either, according to the NYTimes apparently they are doing likewise at the White House. Seems that the Obamas have been lobbied by advocates of eating locally and want to do their part.

Sounds great! Sign me up!

There is only one problem. While they are apparently advocating eating locally and growing organically at the White House, the President is pushing for laws that will make it harder, if not downright impossible for the rest of us to do just that.

H.R. 875 is a wonderful little ditty being offered up in DC, designed to make all of us safer. It purports to look at the big picture and protect us from all of the food-borne illnesses that can be acquired across the country in venues large and small. You see the licensing and such that they already have in place for the large producers has done so much to ensure food safety (after all, when was the last time that we had a food-related outbreak of illness, forever, right?) that they thought (in their inimitable wisdom) that it would be prudent to expand it to those of us who, as small producers, are running amuck. Complete, of course, with fines large and, well, not so small...up to a cool million. (Which should be no problem at all to cover, after all, we all know how rich those small farmers are getting at the farmer's markets!)

So...the Obama children may grow those organic heirloom tomatoes, just don't try to teach them about the business side of selling the fruits of their labor without ample inspection and licensing fees. Oh well, they can call it a civics class? Or economics? I am not sure WHAT to call it!

Oh! I forgot! I guess the Obamas haven't heard that they may well won't be able to grow those tomatoes organically--unless it is deemed appropriate, for you see HR875 requires standardized growing practices (to be determined by whom, do you think?) complete with those fines for deviating for those approved methods of gardening.

I will call it an intriguing coincidence that the author of this little gem just *happens* to be married to a gentleman employed by agribusiness giant Monsanto. Now that IS interesting. I guess if you find that regulations haven't helped make you safer you can at least make sure that the competition that is developing a healthy (in more ways than one) following is equally burdened. The fact that the burdening will effectively shut down small producers wouldn't be a bad side effect, would it? And the best part of all is that there is no real protection in the bill for those who are simply growing in their back yard for their own consumption.

“A real delicious heirloom tomato is one of the sweetest things that you’ll ever eat,” says Michelle Obama. She better hope that they eat them BEFORE this little bill passes. But that is OK, after all, as her husband assures us this is just to make sure that "No parent should have to worry that their child is going to get sick from their lunch".

I feel so much safer, now, don't you?

If it bothers you that your government thinks it appropriate to require licensing for small family farms to the point of likely running them out of business and controlling our food distribution to the point of closing down farmers markets (or making sure that only large agribusiness can sell there) then please consider contacting your representative and telling them that you actually are willing to take your chances with unlicensed heirloom organic tomatoes rather than lose access to them altogether.

See you tomorrow at the market...and don't forget that the vanilla bean yogurt makes great airfreshener!

1 comment:

Dee said...

you should send a copy of this to the White House.