Small Food SmackdownMonday, May 30, 2011
Another great food producer who is outside of the Industrial Food Machine, and who makes a unique and sought-after product, is being run out of business by government tyrants.
Her business, while it lasted, consisted of herself, making yogurt on the instructions of her father. Ms Dashtaki was renting space in the kitchen of an Egyptian restaurant where she and her father, “like elves before and after their working hours”, lovingly cultured their yogurt under a blanket, then drained it through a certain kind of cheese cloth, then stirred it for hours, and so forth. For the taste to be divine, everything has to be just so. And, being artisans, they kept the volume tiny, about 20 gallons (76 litres) a week, for sale only at local farmers’ markets.
Ms Dashtaki discovered the California regulatory state. She was told she had to set up a “Grade A” dairy plant and use processing machines that were not only very expensive, but would transform her entire method for making yogurt, a process that makes her yogurt product unique and extremely popular.
In spite of the anti-California disposition running through this article in The Economist, it is not just California that tramples the makers of artisanal products. If it is not California it will be some other state, and if not the state governments it will be the federal government that will work to eliminate the competition that threatens to take consumers away from its most favored corporate state partners who are subsidized and/or encouraged (by the federal dietary guidelines, etc.) to produce an industrial “food” supply based on the accepted tenets of conventional wisdom. Always – the government is there to protect a whole slew of favored corporate players from your free choices and voluntary transactions with small producers that may impinge on the the profits of the Big Food industry and influence the food culture in a direction away from its cheap-and-easy factory food. Thanks to Mark Fee for the link.