Monday, April 20, 2009

Market for hand crafted food, continued

When I last wrote about the market for hand crafted food, I focused on a concentration of producers in Brooklyn. The fact that there are several of them in the same vicinity allows them to support each other and a growing common set of retailers and customers.

Around Passover, there's also an export market of sorts, and we recently enjoyed hand made "shmura" matzah from both Brooklyn and the nearby Long Island town of Lawrence (made respectively by the Boro Park Shmura Matzoh Bakery and by Tiferes Matzah). Matzah is unleavened bread, and shmura ("watched") matzah is baked very quickly after the wheat is ground into flour and water is added, to make sure no leavening takes place. The handmade matzot are round, and much bigger and denser than machine made matzah, and we always buy enough to enjoy for several days after the Passover seders.

The market for kosher food is a very interesting one, because while it is a very important one for observant Jews, most commercially produced kosher food in the United States is bought by non-Jews (since Jews constitute such a small part of the population). In some cases, non-Jewish consumers may not even notice that the food is kosher: for processed food, the kosher symbols are often inconspicuous. (The New Yorker recently had an article on the growing export of kosher food from China.) In other cases, e.g. for kosher meat, which is more expensive, consumers may be attracted by the extra steps of inspection. In any event, the fact that there is a wide market for kosher food increases its availability and lowers its cost.

A guest also brought us some handmade goat cheese, from Twig Farm in Vermont. As in Brooklyn, Vermont seems to support a variety of handmade food producers who support each other. Along with the goat cheese from their own goats, came some cow's milk cheese, made by a neighboring organic farmer.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Check out Bruges (in Belgium, close to Maastricht) for an entire neighbourhood working on handmade chocolate. Perhaps the most delicious check one can make, though an expensive one!