Locavore Lies, Start-up Silliness and Other Fictions We Tell Ourselves to Sleep at Night
Happy Wednesday, lovelies! I’m about as left-coast food obsessive as they come. I brew my own kombucha*, have made Rick Bayless’s Presidential mole in a 600-square foot ill-ventilated apartment, and firmly believe that a happy, organic grass-fed chicken actually tastes better. So needless to say, this farm-to-table movement in the food industry is aimed squarely at suckers like me. But, like most things, artisanal food with origin stories more complicated than Wolverine’s are just that — fiction. The reality is that an entire continent cannot enjoy local grapefruits all year round; climate and environment don't work that way. Our appetite-fueled food system is built on transportation over long distances, no matter what your menu says.
So when Laura Reiley at the Tampa Bay Times started reviewing quite a few “local, farm-fresh” restaurants in Florida, her food truth spidey sense started tingling. So she started asking questions - and smuggling small chunks of salmon entrees to labs - and the truth wasn’t pretty. She found “housemate desserts” from the grocery freezer aisle, frozen Chinese pollock presented as wild-caught Alaskan, and - I kid you not - greens in a “F**k Monsanto Salad” that are more likely than not GMO. In her words, "IF YOU EAT FOOD, you are being lied to every day.” It’s a fascinating read and sobering reminder of the stories we tell ourselves to feel better about what we put in our pie holes.
But don’t mind me, I’m off to invest in sun-grown, small-batch, craft cannabis grown in the Humboldt County “appellation.”
Bleeding Unicorn Theranos is back in the news, as the company is being investigated by federal prosecutors as to whether or not they misled investors by selling them magical blood tests that didn’t exist. This brought attention back to a 2015 Quora post written by Tirumalai Kamala comparing Theranos’ travails to ImClone: “...just one piece of bad news was all it took for a domino-like collapse that revealed corporate illusion at the heart of the company's operations."
And speaking of illusions, Stefana points me to Sam Biddle at Gawker, who’s discovered an investor shell company built on celebrity connections and a 20-year-old CEO.
*Yes, I have SCOBYs for sale if you’re in the Bay Area and are looking to brew some ‘booch.