Wednesday, August 06, 2008

In the New York Times Today: Cold in the kitchen, local in the supermarket

Harold McGee has done it again. His column today talks about how to freeze things fast and efficiently:
In the New York Times: Cold in the kitchen

Does hot water make ice faster than cold water? McGee isn't so sure. But he suggests some new ways to freeze ice cream fast.

Of course he can't resist starting with some way-out post modern foodie stuff, but it's a very interesting article.

And in another article, Supermarket Chains Narrow Their Sights, Marian Burros provides a very interesting discussion of the developing trend to have local produce in supermarkets -- even Whole Foods finds this challenging. One personal data point: my own Whole Foods in Ann Arbor several years ago said they couldn't manage local: now they do. A quote from this interesting article:
These [local] growers are used to picking the zucchini and bringing it to a stall at a farmers’ market. In order to sell to grocery stores, they have to learn pricing, invoicing and ordering systems as well as post-harvest handling techniques that include chilling, sorting and grading for size and color.

Big retailers have even more work to do. Used to making just a few phone calls to large produce distributors, often thousands of miles away, they do not have the setup or the personnel to deal with individual farmers who deliver to the back door.

Some of them are reluctant to do so and small farmers either have to join a co-op or find a distributor who can deliver to the supermarket’s warehouse.

The chains also have to change their purchasing practices to make room for seasonal local produce instead of being locked into a year-round contract with one source in order to insure the lowest prices.

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