The ORIGINAL SLOW FOOD
Rancho Vignola has always operated on the principle that "food is community." From the families who grow the food to the families who sit together and share it, food creates a human bond which unites us all. The more a food is broken down and processed, the less evident the human component becomes.
The Slow Food revolution evolved as a reaction to the fast food culture so prevalent in the Western world. "Slow food" is literally the opposite of fast food: wholesome, nutrient-rich foods which require time and energy to prepare, from the growing and harvesting to the cooking and sharing with friends and family. In our opinion, this embodies the principle of community and ritual around the food we eat.
The "Hundred Mile Diet" (a diet based on eating foods that do not have to be trucked across continents) is another movement that is also receiving attention. Slow food proponents also oppose the long-distance transportation of many of the standard foods in the North American diet. Trucking lettuce and leafy greens from thousands of miles away makes little sense, considering that most of the nutrients have likely faded by the time we get to toss that salad. In this case, the cost of transport and its impact on the environment far outweighs the nutritional value such foods deliver and the fact that they can be grown locally makes them an unnecessary luxury we can ill afford.
This issue has forced us at Rancho Vignola to take a serious look at the foods we sell and the miles they have to travel to get to us. In weighing the pros and cons, it is evident to us that nutritional integrity and real food value is what makes the transport of our products environmentally justifiable. Almonds, cashews, pecans, pistachios, raisin, figs and dates cannot be grown in Canada but are nonetheless important to a balanced diet, especially for vegetarians who rely on nuts for protein, and dried fruit in regions where fresh fruit is sparse.
Foods coming from far away places must pack a solid nutritional punch to justify the cost of trucking them up here.
It would be impossible to find locally-grown foods that match or even come close to the nutritional density of an almond, walnut or pecan (except for the BC filbert which we are happy to promote!). Same goes with dried fruit, where the nutritional values are even more concentrated through the dehydration process. The fact that nuts and dried fruit keep very well in tight containers stored in a cool dry place, eliminating the need for refrigeration, also makes them environmentally-friendly foods.