When I first started buying and cooking food, my only concern was maximizing flavor. The nascent farmers market movement had not yet preoccupied our food-sourcing imaginations with the duty to know your farmer and buy locally. I did all my shopping at big grocery stores like everybody else. Plus I was too busy in my kitchen learning how to cook to bother with the sources of my raw ingredients.
But in the cookbooks I was reading, I noticed that the recipes called for things like “very ripe tomatoes” and “freshest possible cream” or “salted pork jowl.” In those same cookbooks I began to read about other parts of the world boasting large markets with abundant fresh vegetables and live chickens. I knew that fresh ingredients would yield better results in the kitchen and I pined for those far-away places.
Happily, finding best-quality local food here in New York has become steadily easier over the years. Farmers markets have grown into wondrous displays of ripe and flavorful produce. But I suspect some of this growth is driven by a desire to reduce our carbon footprint, support humane animal welfare, support small farms, and the like. All good things, and at Fat Apple we limit ourselves to sustainable and wholesome practices.
But I’m here to remind you to enjoy your food. Cook as if you care. Cook as if you want to eat something that tastes good. This will inevitably drive you to finding worthy, local sources.
Consider eggs. The egg display refrigerator at the store is a bewildering and burdensome place. How to decide between “cage free” and “organic”? And shouldn’t they be the same thing? At Fat Apple we don’t label our eggs too much. Our eggs are “all of the above.” But the fact is that raising hens the right way produces a supremely flavorful egg. So yes, our hens are happier strutting around on pasture, but so are we when we eat their eggs.
We will never compromise the well-being of our animals. Neither will we compromise the quality of what we produce. The two objectives go hand in hand. If you seek maximum flavor, then you will want fresh—and therefore local—produce. If you seek maximum flavor, then you will tend to eat a variety of foods and therefore a healthier diet. If you truly seek maximum flavor, then you will avoid junk food. (And I’m not sure we could make junk food if we tried.) At Fat Apple we want you to satisfy your hunger with good things. Please enjoy.