Where would you like to retire????

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Re: re: Where would you like to retire????

Postby Admin » Sat Jun 07, 2008 11:30 pm

rfarren wrote:You will be hard pressed to find a Chilean apple in France, Italy, Switzerland, or Germany. Why? Because it is cost prohibitive, i.e. it cost more to ship an apple thousands of miles to france, when the government helps out local farmers.

How is the fresh produce in most of the states in this country? In the summer there are the farmer markets, but they cost more because there is no gov't subsidization.


Factor in their tax structure and try to tell me which apple is cheaper. I need a good laugh.
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Re: re: Where would you like to retire????

Postby Geoff » Sun Jun 08, 2008 11:28 am

rfarren wrote:When you shop in western europe, sorry, I wasn't talking about eastern europe, you will find signs that say what province the produce is from. The signs above (lets say a saturn peach) says it is from calabria, or province etc. Indeed, local produce is subsidized by the government, and as a result is cheaper than imported food from thousands of miles away. Time honored traditions of when to eat certain staples are kept up for a reason. You will be hard pressed to find a Chilean apple in France, Italy, Switzerland, or Germany. Why? Because it is cost prohibitive, i.e. it cost more to ship an apple thousands of miles to france, when the government helps out local farmers.
How is the fresh produce in most of the states in this country? In the summer there are the farmer markets, but they cost more because there is no gov't subsidization. So, we ship a peach in from california, from farms that are on land that naturally get little to no rain. They are genetically altered to have thick skins (tomatoes) and hold color while shipping. They are shipped hundreds, and in the case of the east coast thousands of miles. By the time you eat your peach, it has been off the vine for more than a week. Really, is this a gross overstatement?
Perhaps we should read "the omnivores dilemma." It gives a pretty good insight into American farming and eating habits.
If you have ever spent more than a month in europe, you would understand, after you came back that the quality of produce in this country really is by and large poor...unless you get your produce from small local organic farmers.


First, let's discuss some qualifications here. I used to live in Belgium for a while when I sold my tech company to Xircom. That would have been 1996. I'm fairly fluent in French and I can hack my way through survival situations in German, Dutch, and Spanish. I had a stretch where my passport had the glue-on supplement pages because I'd filled the original with stamps. I've been all over western Europe on business.

In the winter, produce in Europe tends to come from Africa in the same way that ours comes from South America. If you've ever been to Rome in January, you'd know that they ain't growin' local produce at that time of year. Ditto the south of France. I've logged a stupid number of days in Sophia Antipolis doing tech business. It's usually in the 40's there in the winter. Ain't much growin' there locally, either.

Is the produce better in the southern half of Europe than in the Northeastern US? Sure. European zoning and farm subsidy laws have enabled small family-owned farms to survive near European metro areas where much of that land has been carved up to suburban sprawl in the northeast. The same is definitely not true in the southern US or California where there are much longer growing seasons, far more farms relative to the population, and trivial transportation time and cost. A Georgia peach is really good if you eat it in Georgia. I have some rock-hard ones sitting on my kitchen counter that suck. Florida corn is near-inedible in metro-Boston but it's actually quite good at the Publix in Sarasota where Mr. Guido probably used to buy produce. If you go 600 miles north in Europe to, say, Hamburg, the produce is no better than Boston. Ditto Stockholm where I've also spent a ton of time. I once worked for a small company based there and I spent many weeks there doing business with Ericssson over the years. I can't speak to the local produce in Sweden during their short summer growing season since that part of the world shuts down for July & August.

As much as you wish it were the case, the world does not revolve around NYC. You have a huge metro sprawl and virtually no local produce relative to the population size. Most of the rest of the country isn't like that. I have a farmer's market walking distance from my house every Saturday morning. I have my own garden. Northern New England is stuffed full of mom & pop produce places that grow and sell their own stuff. I don't buy produce in the grocery store very often. The high end restaurants in the Northeast get their produce from premium distributors like Sid Wainer. It's more expensive because it's all exedited shipping from the growing regions in the country to their warehouse in New Bedford, Ma and the stuff all goes out the door the next day. It's the FEDEX formula applied to produce. I have a smaller version across the river from me in Kittery, ME. They're the local supplier to the restaurants and specialty grocers. They don't get the same huge volume of express shipments because they don't have the inventory turnover but I can walk in and ask them what's fresh. They'll happily steer me to the right stuff. There's a comparable business just south of Okemo in Proctorsville. They deliver produce to all the restaurants in south-central Vermont. I can get fresh produce there but the selection of the quality stuff isn't as large as in places with larger population densities. My point is that you can certainly get excellent produce in the Northeast... you just have to be willing to pay for it. The Northestern US has McDonalds and crappy mass market grocery store produce. Nobody is making you buy it. It's not my fault that you chose to live in NYC where business costs are so high that prices for that kind of produce are astronomical and most people opt out due to the price.
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Re: re: Where would you like to retire????

Postby Marc_C » Sun Jun 08, 2008 12:33 pm

Geoff wrote:As much as you wish it were the case, the world does not revolve around NYC. You have a huge metro sprawl and virtually no local produce relative to the population size. Most of the rest of the country isn't like that.

Amplifying with a real world example, there's actually far more locally grown produce comes from much closer in SLC than there is in NYC. And Utah even exports its locally raised lamb, deer, and elk. Some goes to restaurants in Manhattan.
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re: Where would you like to retire????

Postby jasoncapecod » Sun Jun 08, 2008 1:12 pm

The high end restaurants in the Northeast get their produce from premium distributors like Sid Wainer. It's more expensive because it's all exedited shipping from the growing regions in the country to their warehouse in New Bedford, Ma and the stuff all goes out


Geoff this is very true. Having worked at Restaurant Danielle and Patria in the late 90's. Premium distributors like the one above were the main suppliers of quality and unusual produce, ex: you can't walk into the supermarket and buy Fiddle head ferns..

Now there are a growing number of NYC restaurants that are getting there produce,meat,dairy from a number of Hudson Valley Farms.

All things considered the food quality and availability is second to none in the US
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re: Where would you like to retire????

Postby Tony Crocker » Sun Jun 08, 2008 6:29 pm

We have farmers' markets year round here in SoCal. Some items have rather long seasons. Strawberries, for example, from mid-February to July.

My well-traveled friend Richard would support rfarren's contention in some instances. The French do take their food very seriously, and thus I have little doubt that food in "average"places in France tends to be much better quality than here. Likely true for northern Italy too. This does come at a price, with their notorious agricultural subsidies, much more pervasive than ours.

All things considered the food quality and availability is second to none in the US
On a price/value basis I'm inclined to agree with this.

High end dining seems to have gone international. There are now fine and diverse restaurants in most major cities and resort areas. I'm pretty sure Australia and New Zealand were considered dining wastelands 30-40 years ago. For that matter L.A. was a poor stepchild to S.F when I was a kid. NYC may still be great, but there are many more cities that are very competitive. I suspect SLC + Park City has enough to keep 99% of people content.
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re: Where would you like to retire????

Postby rfarren » Sun Jun 08, 2008 9:15 pm

As much as you wish it were the case, the world does not revolve around NYC. You have a huge metro sprawl and virtually no local produce relative to the population size.


I lived in Bloomington Indiana for 5 years. It lies in the middle of some of the most fertile land in North America. I found the produce there was far inferior to that of NYC. The problem was: Krogers in the middle of Indiana got its corn from far away!!! There were local coops. But only a few foodies and hippies bought bought their food there. I was one of those.

There are a ton of farmers markets in NYCy and you can find a farmers market on any given day from april to november. In the winter it is only available 4 days a week. Don't underestimate the amount of local farms that are situated within 100 miles of the city. I understand that there are probably more farms per person in most other metropolitan areas in the country. However, I bet my experience at Krogers in Indiana, (long distance produce in a time of plenty) is for more common here than France or Italy.

I didn't mean to say that america doesn't have high end restaurants. It clearly does, and has been building a "foodie" culture. Yet, the vast amount of americans are not part of this culture i.e. Mcdonald's, or AppleBee's. In france Mcdonald's has begun to invade the culinary culture, however, in Italy it is struggling. I remember reading an article in the NY times about how a town closed a Mcdonalds because it couldn't compete with the towns traditional cheap (peasant) fare: Foccacia.

BTW, Tony... I've always found the produce and cheap restaurants in southern Italy better and cheaper than those in the North. Calabria, Campania, and Apuglia have some of the best culinary traditions in all of Europe. There the cuisine is peasant food at its best.
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Re: re: Where would you like to retire????

Postby rfarren » Sun Jun 08, 2008 9:40 pm

Geoff wrote:
rfarren wrote:unless you get your produce from small local organic farmers.


As much as you wish it were the case, the world does not revolve around NYC. You have a huge metro sprawl and virtually no local produce relative to the population size. Most of the rest of the country isn't like that. I have a farmer's market walking distance from my house every Saturday morning. I have my own garden. Northern New England is stuffed full of mom & pop produce places that grow and sell their own stuff. I don't buy produce in the grocery store very often. The high end restaurants in the Northeast get their produce from premium distributors like Sid Wainer. It's more expensive because it's all exedited shipping from the growing regions in the country to their warehouse in New Bedford, Ma and the stuff all goes out the door the next day. It's the FEDEX formula applied to produce. I have a smaller version across the river from me in Kittery, ME. They're the local supplier to the restaurants and specialty grocers. They don't get the same huge volume of express shipments because they don't have the inventory turnover but I can walk in and ask them what's fresh. They'll happily steer me to the right stuff. There's a comparable business just south of Okemo in Proctorsville. They deliver produce to all the restaurants in south-central Vermont. I can get fresh produce there but the selection of the quality stuff isn't as large as in places with larger population densities. My point is that you can certainly get excellent produce in the Northeast... you just have to be willing to pay for it. The Northestern US has McDonalds and crappy mass market grocery store produce. Nobody is making you buy it. It's not my fault that you chose to live in NYC where business costs are so high that prices for that kind of produce are astronomical and most people opt out due to the price.


Actually the cost in NYC for the farmers markets are hardly astronomical compared to other place around the country. In fact, my guess would be the cost are about the same as vermont or upstate NY. I've been to the farmer's market many times in Geneva New York and have never noticed the cost being lower than what I've gotten at the Green Market here in NYC.

I hate to break the news to you GEOFF but most americans don't eat locally grown produce when its available to them. In fact, most people aren't willing to pay for good produce because locally grown produce cost more. For example: I only buy grass fed steak. It cost about two dollars more for equal quantity at the super market. To me, I think "hey what is two dollars when it taste better, and its better for the environment," but most people won't spend that.

Geoff wrote:
rfarren wrote:unless you get your produce from small local organic farmers.


Funny how you quoted me saying what you said.
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re: Where would you like to retire????

Postby jasoncapecod » Mon Jun 09, 2008 5:02 am

Look what we are arguing about... PRODUCE.. :roll: :shock:
It's to damn hot in the North East. It's starting to melt our brains..
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Re: re: Where would you like to retire????

Postby rfarren » Mon Jun 09, 2008 7:15 am

jasoncapecod wrote:Look what we are arguing about... PRODUCE.. :roll: :shock:
It's to damn hot in the North East. It's starting to melt our brains..


Right now I want snow. I miss skiing. It's making me cantankerous.
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Re: re: Where would you like to retire????

Postby Admin » Mon Jun 09, 2008 7:33 am

rfarren wrote:Right now I want snow. I miss skiing. It's making me cantankerous.


And I couldn't get motivated to go this weekend. Skiing next weekend for sure.
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re: Where would you like to retire????

Postby jamesdeluxe » Mon Jun 09, 2008 8:19 am

I've moved on. Similar to produce, I like to operate according to the seasons. During winter, I can't even think about warm-weather sports (golf, mtb, etc.) and during summer, it's the same way in reverse. My swiss chard and green beans are almost ready to be picked, and the Yankees are finally starting to hit.

Can't even imagine getting motivated to go skiing in South America. Sorry, feel free to excommunicate me.
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Re: re: Where would you like to retire????

Postby Patrick » Mon Jun 09, 2008 8:53 am

jamesdeluxe wrote:Can't even imagine getting motivated to go skiing in South America. Sorry, feel free to excommunicate me.


:lol: :lol: :lol: South America isn't that bad, just think about the motivation to go skiing in New England. :shock: :shock: :shock:
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re: Where would you like to retire????

Postby jamesdeluxe » Mon Jun 09, 2008 9:24 am

I meant packing up skiing equipment and clothing in the middle of summer. To me, it'd be like eating fruit/vegetables from Chile. No thanks.
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Re: re: Where would you like to retire????

Postby Patrick » Mon Jun 09, 2008 9:25 am

jamesdeluxe wrote:I meant packing up skiing equipment and clothing in the middle of summer.

I was thinking about New England this time of the year. :shock:
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Re: re: Where would you like to retire????

Postby Marc_C » Mon Jun 09, 2008 9:36 am

jamesdeluxe wrote:Similar to produce, I like to operate according to the seasons. During winter, I can't even think about warm-weather sports (golf, mtb, etc.) and during summer, it's the same way in reverse.

Besides feeling crappy, a big reason I didn't (nor would have if feeling better) ski on Saturday is that after many weekend days of great spring corn, Snowbird was still 29F at the base and 21F at the summit at 10:30a with 8" of ultra-dense new that fell Thursday night. Refrozen oatmeal in poor vis just wasn't happening for me!

Although sunny, yesterday was pretty cold for this time of year (11F below normal in the valley, with a high of only 68F). Bobby D said Regulator didn't soften enough to become skiable until at least 1:30p. (In prior weeks, the sweet spot for that side of the bowl was around 11:30.)
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