Slow Foodies will know the answer to this question, but I wonder what the popular perception is. After all, lots of people roll their eyes or start to look nervous when I mention things like "sustainable agriculture" and "eating whole foods." Some of my friends wonder if I'm going to corner them with a rant about their shopping habits or criticize their parenting choices. Others seem to get the impression that this is a grubby arena -- culturally unrefined, naive, unshaven, simplistic. Some well-traveled individuals have complained about the scarcity of fine food and good ingredients in Tallahassee. To quote a friend complaining about a local dining establishment, "same old Southern-fried ....." I hope that that perception will diminish as a result of the efforts of Tallahassee's champions of good food. I believe it will.
Slow Food IS a great match for vegans, vegetarians, baby-wearers, and friends of the earth. It is also for fierce carnivores, global citizens, French-Laundry passionates, wine enthusiasts, and fat-loving hedonists.
It ain't just collards here. (by the way, collards are so delicious and versatile when you buy them in the right season, at the right stage of development) In our own Tallahassee, in-season, you'll find pristine golden chanterelles, frilly, colorful little lettuces, arugula, heirloom tomatoes, fabulous cheeses -- any number of things to satisfy your lust for exceptional ingredients. Buy them from the farmer's markets, and your prizes won't have been squashed with plastic, dried out by refrigeration or bruised from excessive handling. Also, don't forget your proximity to local fishing communities. You have the luxury of dining out on or taking home some seriously fresh seafood. Classic panhandle seafood joints often stick with simple treatments: blackened, fried, steamed, or broiled (and unadorned), but Tallahassee and Apalachiacola also boast several restaurants that handle local seafood with exceptional flair. Take your pick.
Bridging the gap: Jennifer Taylor(FAMU small farms program) is helping to bridge the gap between community and local farmers by inviting prominent local chefs to the Lake Ella Grower's Market to demonstrate what can be done with the cornucopia of local, in-season ingredients. Spectators enjoy well-executed, palate-pleasing results for free at the end of the demonstration.
Dr. Jennifer Taylor: Coordinator, Small Farms Programs
Florida A&M University (850) 412 5260
Grower's Market: Lake Ella, behind the Black Dog Cafe. Wednesdays 3:00-dusk.
Back to the original question, "What is Slow Food?": Read the Slow Food Manifesto (it's SHORT and DELICIOUS!). OR, Slow-Foodies, tell us what it means to you.