Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Jesus ate local...

I mean that in a very tongue in cheek way, so don't get offended (but, it's true). As part of another program at the Cathedral, we organized a 'meal of conscience' for our monthly family dinner. Out with the spaghetti, in with the brats and a little local beer. It's time for Octoberfest! Almost all the food served last Wednesday came from local sources. The bratwurst came from Spring House Meats at Hickory Nut Gap Farm . A big thank you to Jamie Ager of said farm for helping us with the vast quantity of sausage. Everyone thought they were the best bratwurst ever eaten. And there are quite a few Northerners in the mix, so that is a complement. Charlie and I made roasted potatoes and peppers, coleslaw (both with produc grown in the area) and baked beans (not quite local, but baked to perfection). Beer came from several local breweries, depending on personal taste. We have lots of local breweries in Asheville, so if you can't find a beer you like, well you must not like beer...

The crowd for this particular dinner was double the normal spaghetti supper crowd - around 150 people. We fed them all and had a few leftovers. The amazing thing was that it cost less per person to feed locally grown, organic, and humanely-raised food than it normally does to feed everyone spaghetti made with processed products bought at Sam's. It was a simple lesson to all present.

The most gratifying thing is that from this simple meal a whole discussion began. We Episcopalians are good at discussing. It's a particular talent of ours. It was decided that there should be a whole series of lessons on what it means to live in a conscience way - how as Christians, can we respect and protect the world around us. So, now there will be Sunday formation classes devoted to a whole range of topics (even food and farming!).
And wonder of wonder, a promise came to me, through Charlie, that the flowers will be fair trade, organic, and maybe even local. It's been my pet peeve for a while. I'm sure there will be some resistance, there always is, but hopefully things will change up there at the altar. Don't get me started on the floral industry and the amount of pollutants, chemicals, fuels and unfair labor used to create the perfect cut flower.. Or perhaps you should get me started. Look at what one local meal of sausage can do.


  1. Mmmm....local bratwurst. I can't go back to the non-local stuff. Oh man, now I'm going to be craving bratwurst all morning! Hee hee!

  2. That's how we've become! We are only eating local meat. We've cut down a little on consumption to save the budget (which is probably quite good for us) and we feel a lot better. Oh, and I did have bratwurst for breakfast the next day :)

  3. You always have been out in front with everything, from Duran Duran to flowers on the altar.

    I have been pondering precisely this issue as I prepare for Melissa's memorial next week: where to acquire flowers. Solution thus far is to buy 250 stems of local organic fresh-cut-that-morning flowers from Full Sun Farm in Sandy Mush.

    But what if first frost happens before next Saturday?

    Simple: no flowers. Out of season. There will be a howling protest from the more well-heeled among us, but that's the way it's got to be. No hothouse commercial muck.

    Thanks for what you do.