Monday, June 05, 2006

Gone Local

June is busting out all over. This week I’m local down in Somerset, England. Local here means hanging out with Jamie Montgomery, maker of one of the world's best cheddars, and talking cows with him one day, and tasting his latest cheese, Ogleshield.

Next day, it means eating some farm raised organic beef from the farmer down the road. He lives in what he calls his hidden valley, a spectacular place with an old farm where he was born and raised, and where the Black Angus steer live a life of peace and contentment.

Day after that, I'm studying up for the local Bath and West Show, an annual event in these parts, where I’m guest judging the local cider, a brew made famous over the years and perfect with a hunk of Somerset cheddar.

The point is this: I like to eat local, shop local, find out who the best farmers are, the ones that respect the animals and the land, the ones who know how to make food that tastes best, and eat that, eat what I want, to my heart's content. Try it.

This month we go local at Murray’s Cheese with the best regional cheese and dairy from Maine to Maryland. And check out our new cart at the Real Food Markets starting June 17 at Cowfield's, milk made foods from the region we live in. Pick up a copy of Real Foods, the new book by Nina Planck, and find out why real is local, and local is best.

Meanwhile, over in neighboring Gloucestershire, they had their bizarre annual cheese rolling competition yesterday. They roll an eight pound double Gloucester down a steep hill and hundreds of people throw themselves down the very steep Cooper's Hill after the cheese. Twenty-five people were treated for injuries, two hospitalized. The winner, (Jason Crowther, 24), keeps the cheese. Gone local indeed!

- Rob Kaufelt