Eat. Drink. Think.
By Amanda Faison
The last weekend of July, the Good Food Media Network hosted the second-annual Eat. Drink. Think. in conjunction with the Crested Butte Wine & Food Festival. Most food and wine gatherings promote little more than indulgence but Crested Butte’s event is different. Through thought-provoking panels and Q&As, the festival offers all the fun with the addition of intellectual, issue-based discussion and dinner that resonates long after the festivities have ended.
This year, the panels and dinner explored the good, the bad, and the ugly of meat and seafood sourcing and labeling. The panelists included Carrie Balkcom, executive director of American Grassfed Association; Kay Cornelius, vice president of food service for Niman Ranch, Simone Jones, Seafood Watch business engagement manager at Monterey Bay Aquarium; chef Jennifer Jasinski of Crafted Concepts Restaurant Group in Denver; chef Alex Seidel of Fruition Restaurant, Mercantile Dining & Provision, and Fruition Farms in Denver; chef Kelly Whitaker of Basta Restaurant in Boulder; and chef Theo Otte of 626 on Rood in Grand Junction.
With so much take-away, we thought we’d include a few of the points and highlights here:
On the importance of nurturing and supporting small farmers and ranchers… When you lose family farms, you lose community. Stores close, people move away, main streets die. —Kay Cornelius
On knowing the origin of your meat…Ground beef can contain the DNA of 1,000 different cows —Carrie Balkcom
On losing our connection to food…I am reminded of something I heard in Italy, “You [America] grow food to sell, not to eat.” —Jennifer Jasinski
On being an educated consumer… We can’t all eat salmon, tuna, halibut, shrimp and expect there to be any left. Use the Seafood Watch app to find out which species are OK to eat. —Simone Jones
Look beyond the filet mignon, the flatiron, and the rib-eye… Ask your butcher for different cuts like the coppa, the coulotte steak, the pork brisket. It’s about carcass utilization. —Kay Cornelius
Look for the label…Unless you see the American Grassfed Associations label, “grassfed” means nothing. —Carrie Balkcom
On changing our expectations…We expect food to be cheap but there’s an environmental and social cost to cheap food. —Amanda M. Faison
On farmed fish… Farmed fish has gotten a bad rap but in this country [because of the government’s strict regulations] you can trust it. Farmed fish and farmed bivales will feed the world. —Simone Jones