Farmies and foodies alike need to check out the latest issue of The Washingtonian, featuring Fairs, Festivals and Farmers Markets. It contains a generous listing of area markets in various formats, chef-recommended farmers markets and a produce guide to buying.
The issue also features, “The Meaning of Local,” a great article by Todd Kliman discussing the issues surrounding the definition of local in marketing and selling produce. This is an issue we’ve been seeing emerge with the popularity of local foods finding a foothold in the region and the market becoming more mature. It gives a great overview of the history of local food movement and thoughtfully challenges some prevalent assumptions that buying local is inherently better. Kliman outlines the underbelly of the movement: from misuse of the term, ‘local,’ as a marketing hook by local restaurateurs, the inherent risk of dilution of the movement as it expands and the inevitable abuse of the term without clear parameters as it goes corporate.
The article also features Elaine Boland of the Fields of Athenry farm in Purcellville, Va. and skillfully outlines the sometimes less than ethical use by restaurants of featuring local products to create an image and drive business. It also features the unexpected featuring of local foods by lower brow Silver Diner, giving some entrée of local food in restaurants the rest of us can afford.