Off The Hook!

A friend of mine has an interesting comment about yesterday’s blog… you can read it posted at the end of the entry.  I’m glad someone who’s actually eaten at Hook in DC has weighed in.

However, I disagree strongly that localism and sustainability are not connected, Rudi.  It’s a big, big part of the movement.  How long can we sustain the cost of fuel used to transport Wahoo from Hawaii to Washington, DC?  Food miles, or the distance travelled when transporting edibles, is one of the most important factors in a localvore diet.  Carbon consumption, and finding ways to reduce it/end it, is one of the basic principles of sustainability.  Localism and sustainability are entirely interconnected.

This is from a communique on the Chefs’ Collaborative website about using Seafood Watch Lists…"Generally
targeted to consumers, these lists are often too abbreviated to provide
chefs with the information needed to make informed seafood purchasing
decisions. Lists cannot always address complex issues, such as how
to support local fishing communities, decrease the miles that food
travels, and other issues that contribute to the idea of
(emphasis mine).

You may or may not
agree with this description of watch lists (such as the one issued by
the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which I often refer to) but decreasing food
mileage, nurturing local food economies, and  establishing a
relationship with the purveyor is essential to changing the nature of
our consumption.  For some fun reading, here’s more on that from the 100-mile diet folks.

Hook is adopting sustainable practices in purchasing from small
businesses, by using wild-caught fish, and generally following the guides it bases its purchases
on.  I had no idea, until Rudi pointed it out, that none of the
waterways in DC or the surrounding areas are at all fishable.  There
are no fish to be had.  That’s it.  The end.  However, I would argue
that this restaurant is practicing "weak" sustainability as opposed to
a "stong" one; carbon consumption is simply not factored in here.  So
is it better to "move in the direction" of sustainability, or wait
until something changes?  The answer, if you are a seafood restaurant
in DC, is obvious. 

Demand always turns up supply, somehow.
Just happens.  Ten years ago, Washington state had only one farm that
was turning out farmstead cheeses (all the ingredients in the cheese
come from the same people who make it.)  Today there are over a
hundred.  What happened?  Farmers got word that there were folks who
were willing to pay money for local foods.  The supply emerged.  Does
that mean there will emerge a Virgin Spring off Chesapeake Bay, with
small local villages to fish and farm it?  Um, doubt it.  But perhaps
the ideas of sustainabilty will inspire some residents to seek out and
source those local foods that are abundant.

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