Thursday, July 3, 2008

Gastro-tourism, I guess

A week ago I was traveling to Portland, Oregon for a meeting.

Or at least I thought I was traveling to Portland.

The meeting was actually at a suburban hotel frequented by airline crews, and near a regional mall - suburban Anywhere, USA?

So it wasn't the green experience I was expecting when I heard the key word "Portland". Recycling? Local, seasonal food? Not much.

And listening to the three flight attendants in the van with me on the way back to the airport I realized their lives are about 180 degrees out from mine. I don't think they have a local, and all their topics of conversation seemed to come under the heading "consumer notes". I think I am going to start making a list of the things you can live without.

BUT - there was an up side. The Bob's Red Mill experience was just a few miles west of the hotel. I persuaded a fun colleague from Portland to take me there on a break. I did not see Bob. But I was able to buy (note consumer moment here) rolled rye, which I can no longer get anywhere locally and which is a key ingredient in my favorite roll recipe.

The Red Mill was a friendly place with helpful people. Through talking, observing and reading I realized that Bob does do a lot of sourcing of grains in the Northwest. So while I am grieving the loss, I am ready to make the switch from King Arthur products, saving money (it costs a lot to ship those grains from the Midwest to Vermont and then to California) and many food miles. And when I run out of this case of rolled rye, I can mail order myself from Bob.

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