Monday, August 30
Will YOU Pay for Quality?
Did you read the article on Toledo Museum of Art's Glass Pavilion in the Wall Street Journal today? It's on the front page. I took great interest in reading it as I was just there this past summer (see post on Modigliani and roast pork). It is a well written article of the eye-opening kind. It explains that though the museum is the legacy of a local glass maker in honor of the city's glass-making past, the curved pavilion glass was imported from...China. The Shenzhen based manufacturer was willing to invest in the $500,000 equipment for making the intricate glass for the exterior of the building and is quoted as saying "US companies are too cautious, preferring standardized processes and easy money." What? Have the tables turned? When did the Chinese mount the high horse of quality?
My first thought was that American food production has indeed become all about standardized processes and easy money. Taste and quality have been forgotten along the path of production expansion and cost cutting. Small, local farmers are going bust as large scale farms use pesticides and chemical fertilizers with the single goal of widening profit margins.
It also made me think of the organic vegetable delivery I had just cancelled. My friend, Brown Sugar Cookie, had passed on details of an organic vegetable service to me and I had tried them out for a couple of weeks. Yes, the fruit was perfectly ripe and delicious and the vegetables was exceptionally tasty. Though they were smaller in size, even the colors were more vibrant. For those two weeks, I felt good that I was exposing my children to fewer chemicals and also felt empowered that I was supporting local farmers in NC. The delivery service even goes the extra mile of emailing you recipes for the delivered produce. How perfect for a foodie. Unfortunately, I felt that the quantity delivered was small for $30 and I kept thinking I could buy more at the farmers' market for the same cost. Not much difference between me and the American glass manufacturer who is not willing to pay for quality.
So, what should I do? More importantly, what would you do?