Monday, November 13, 2006

Something to Eat, Something to Drink

I don’t write about food very often, mainly because I don’t have much to offer that isn’t readily available elsewhere on Web from more knowledgeable sources. I will, however, share a bit of food philosophy from time to time.

Over the years, I’ve become more and more interested in sustainable agriculture and local food products. This weekend, I had the pleasure of indulging my interests.

Columbia has been recently blessed with an organic farmer’s market. It is a small (but growing) group of merchants who gather every other week to sell local products. The goods include local meats, produce, diary and other miscellanea.

I picked up some fresh shrimp, stone-ground grits, a couple of the fattest pork chops you’ve ever seen and bacon. I would have bought more, but my budget intervened.

The shrimp was wild-caught and beautiful. With so much farmed shrimp from overseas flooding the market at low prices, I have pledged to always buy fresh from now on.

The grits were from Anson Mills, which is right here in Columbia. They use the best methods, organic crops and heirloom varieties to produce some amazing products: grits, cornmeal, etc.

Caw Caw Creek is the source of the pork products. The pigs there are pastured, fed natural products and treated with dignity. My two goals for eating meat are: eat less and eat meat raised using humane methods.

I have yet to eat the pork chops, but the bacon was heavenly—full of flavor and wonderfully textured. We used the grits and shrimp to make—well, you know—which was very tasty. The grits take awhile to cook, but it’s well worth it. What can you say about fresh shrimp, other than “yum?”

We enjoyed a bottle of Hugues Beaulieu Picpoul de Pinet Cotes du Languedoc 2005 with the shrimp and grits. Picpoul blanc is grown within sight of the local oyster beds, so it’s a natural match with seafood. It’s light, clean and fresh with tones of lemon and grapefruit. It’s also nicely dry and slightly flinty.

I’ve read about picpoul blanc, but this is the first time I had tried it. Picpoul de Pinet is one the named Crus of Languedoc. This was another great find in French wines. You can find it at Total Wine & More for $7.99.

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