Made In The U.S.A.

Archive for the ‘Edibles’ Category

Good, but Spicy

In Edibles on February 3, 2009 at 6:02 am

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Save the Universe: Drink Coffee

In Edibles on February 2, 2009 at 5:59 am

1.17.09: Treehugger says that you can Save the World if you stop drinking coffee. It can’t be!

Good. It turns out to not be. The premise is that by not consuming the natural resources it takes to grow harvest and deliver coffee to our cushy American palaces, those countries and the environment are better off. But the writer, in fact, then cites the benefits of Americans drinking imported coffee.

I understand that our coffee consumption benefits the economies of other countries. This article is written from the perspective of coffee drinkers such as myself, who don’t have enough of an income to justify spending $50 a month on the stuff, especially now when we need to focus on being more domestically productive and sustainable in the long term.

So, essentially, he’s saying it’s a luxury we don’t need and cutting it out is a good way to get healthy and save money. I probably can’t argue with that. But in the grand scheme of expensive things that are bad for us (booze, smokes, food) coffee is a tolerable luxury for me. Useful, even.

Then there was this article on about how Fair Trade coffee is in fact good for the world. (Perhaps a benefit that overrides the benefits of buying local, especially with a product that is practically impossible to buy locally.) It cites lots of reasons why coffee, particularly the Fair Trade variety, is beneficial to economies, people and the planet.

Maybe the growing push for saving the universe is why Starbucks plans to yet again double its purchases of certified Fair Trade coffee in 2009.

My head is spinning with all of this coffee concern. One thing’s for sure: I won’t save the world by giving up coffee. (Even if it could save the world, I’m still not so sure I’d give it up.) And there are a lot of external factors that change the dynamics about what kind of coffee is the best kind of coffee to buy. I’m still looking forward to the all-American Kona bean from Belleville. Fingers are crossed.


Coffeegate Continues

In Edibles on January 30, 2009 at 6:06 am

1.14.09: My good friend Dan, always looking out for my best interests, has thrown a wonderfully awful wrench in my coffee buying plans. He emailed today with a coupon from his local coffee house (The Oregon Trail Roasting Company over in Belleville, not too far at all) for $5 off Kona coffee. Better yet, the coffee is roasted right there in Bellevegas. On Main Street. Locally.

Last month we introduced you to our exclusive Kona coffee from Hawaii. It is the only coffee grown in the United States. We get our beans from Kona Earth, a small coffee farm located on the tropical slopes of the Hualalai volcano in the famous Kona coffee district on the Big Island of Hawaii. The high mountain “mauka” climate allows their Arabica trees to grow lush and the coffee to ripen slowly, creating beans of remarkable size and flavor. This Estate-grown 100% Kona coffee is controlled by Kona Earth from beginning to end to ensure the best possible quality. The coffee is hand picked, sun dried and pesticide free. It is never mixed with lower grade coffees such as Kona Blend (don’t be fooled by cheap prices—it usually means only a small percent of Kona.)

So it’s grown in the USA and roasted in my hometown. I think I have to buy it.

I wonder if they accept Starbucks gift cards?


Starbucks and Fair Trade

In Edibles on January 25, 2009 at 1:53 pm

1.10.09: Stopped at Starbucks today, not only for my favorite drink (a venti iced coffee with three Splendas and half and half) but for a pound of coffee and advice. I asked about fair trade, and they pointed me to the Café Estima blend. They even ground it for me. I decided that in the world of coffee, Fair Trade certification is more valuable to the conscientious consumer than locally grown. You can buy it here.

I looked online to learn more about Fair Trade and Starbucks roasts. I can’t for the life of me figure out where the heck they roast their coffee. Based on what I’ve learned this week (if it doesn’t say MITUSA, it wasn’t) I’m wondering if they have bulk roasters in foreign lands. I’ll have to continue this investigation.

Though I didn’t learn what I wanted, I did learn this: Coffee is the second-most traded commodity (after oil) on earth.

You can’t really get either one of them efficiently MITUSA.

I also found an interesting discussion about asking for Fair Trade coffees in Starbucks. It turns out that there’s a whole movement of people who’d really like you to ask for a cup of Fair Trade the next time you’re in Starbucks, because they’ll brew one up special for you. One commenter made a great point about how and why this shift in demand would create a shift in the corporate behavior, making it easier to get Fair Trade coffees in Starbucks. It seemed to apply to buying American as well.

Why do you have to ask? Because we live in a market-driven system (for better or worse) and by demanding you affect supply. (I’ll give a nod to the fact that most of our so-called “democratic economy” is actually a command economy, but that’s for another day.) In the end, an educated consumer and demand-driven economics is the “best” solution.

I then learned that a command economy would have supplies and prices set and controlled by the government. Presumably that poster would argue that our economy is such because of government subsidies and stuff.

I guess I’m back to thinking that my coffee is made at the local Starbucks, and the ingredients are imported. I can’t help but think I’d be better served by a truly locally roasted bean. I’m definitely investigating that—as soon as I’ve spent my Starbucks bucks.


You crazy, Kona. You crazy.

In Edibles on January 25, 2009 at 10:21 am

You have got to be kidding me.

You cannot buy American-grown locally roasted coffee unless you are rich. Period.

We have our first MITUSA casualty. It is coffee. I am sad.


expensive kona

Get thee to a White Castle

In Edibles on January 23, 2009 at 10:40 am

Almost made it another day without a purchase, but… alas, I was White Castled.

For anyone who happens to be reading this and does not live within reasonable driving distance of a White Castle fast food restaurant, I must paraphrase Mr. T: I pity you, fool.
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Fair Shares

In Edibles on January 21, 2009 at 8:39 pm

Dan and Crystal do this. They pay $50 per week and pick up a bag of locally grown/made/harvested/roasted groceries. They’re good people.

Fair Shares is a non-profit organization dedicated to getting fresh, local, seasonal food into the hands of more St. Louisans–regardless of their income. We think it’s important to know the origin of your food–who grew it and where. With all the horrifying Read the rest of this entry »

Refill your Uh Oh, mister?

In Edibles on January 19, 2009 at 11:57 am

1.4.09: Uh oh.

I found a list of American Made Coffees.

They include: Bad Ass Coffee, USA Coffee Company and various other Hawaiian-grown coffee companies. I guess that means I have to start buying American-made coffee and not Starbucks’ nectar of the gods. Read the rest of this entry »

How about a nice cup of Uh Oh?

In Edibles on January 18, 2009 at 10:45 pm

1.4.09: I’ve been doing some research to head off Coffeegate before the ____ hits the ___.

Kona coffee is grown only in specific districts of the big island of Hawaii. It has “developed a reputation that has made it one of the most expensive and sought-after coffees in the world.”

Great. Read the rest of this entry »

Peanut Butter Recall

In Edibles on January 18, 2009 at 10:42 pm

Heard about this tonight, and was relieved to see that it’s not straight up store bought peanut butter that’s been recalled. But lots of products with PB in them have been recalled. Find out if your favorite peanut butter snacks have been tainted here.


Why buy American?

In Edibles on January 18, 2009 at 1:43 am

1.3.09: I was prepared to report that I didn’t buy anything today, but of course I proved myself wrong. I bought dinner.

Shelley and I ate with Dan and Crystal at the new Sasha’s wine bar at the end of my block. I bought for Shelley and I and, of course, the whole purpose of the meal was consumption. We started with locally-made Volpi prosciutto with Parmesan cheese from who knows where; it didn’t occur to me to ask. Crystal was drinking a Bloody Mary for her hangover (they did a lunchtime “beer run”) so I joined her.

It was over Bloody Marys that I mentioned my MITUSA resolution. Crystal asked instantly: What about the Vodka? It hadn’t occurred to me that of course everything I consume at a restaurant is purchased from somewhere not necessarily local, and not all of it is American-made. It just so happened that the prosciutto was local, but what about the million other things I ingested? Veggies, spices, condiments… there’s no way the lime in my drink was grown in the USA, right?

What the hell is a guy supposed to do? Can I not eat vegetables in the off-season unless I move to California, and then only avocados and pears? Can I not dine out? I suppose I’ll have to investigate at the grocery store this week. Fingers are crossed. Read the rest of this entry »

Fast Food and Beer

In Edibles on January 17, 2009 at 12:19 am

I bought food and drink like crazy today. Breakfast at Hardee’s, where I was doing a charity shoot (and apparently I was on the noon news on channel 4 hob-nobbing with a TV weather guy and the St. Louis County Executive) which was actually donated by the company. Then lunch at Dickey’s, where I had barbecue and iced tea (unsweet, of course). Dinner was drive-thru (on the way to a trivia night event, which we won partly because I knew that the answer to the universe was 42) and I can say unequivocally that the Burger King parking lot smells flame grilled and I like that. Bought some beers at the event, too, which were Anheuser Busch-Inbev products, presumably locally brewed by the world’s biggest brewer. (Is that still considered buying local?) I feel like I technically succeeded in buying American, but the megacorporations tied up in everything I ate and drank today makes me feel a little sick to my stomach. That, or the fast food and beer is backing up on me.