A Food Lover’s Tour Of Canadian Farms

“ I am continually shocked by how little most industrial farmers think about the taste

or nutrition of their crops and livestock, how little they know or care about what might seem a fundamental aspect of their work. Clearly, they have become as divorced from their groceries as consumers.”

This is an excerpt from the introduction to Margaret Webb’s book, “Apples to Oysters: A food lover’s tour of Canadian Farms.” She visited 11 farms, chosen for their special attention to detail on production practices and on taste. Parts of this book will make you mad, especially if you’re a “conventional” farmer. But in general, I liked the book, and if you read it, you’ll find it mostly inspiring.

In the chapter on Alberta beef, Webb writes about going into a “very upscale” restaurant in Calgary that serves AAAA beef. She is less than impressed. “Clearly the industry, by creating a fetish around beef grades, has distracted us from looking at how that beef is raised. For, predictably, this top-of-the-class strip loin arrives on my plate perfectly grilled rare, as ordered, but like most beef these days, wet and flavourless. Tender, yes, but tasteless.”

Like I said, Webb’s book will make you angry at times. But at the same time, I think she does raise some important points about satisfying the customer.



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