Local for One is Locale for Another

Bison in Colorado

It was a wild week.

On Tuesday, I had an opportunity to talk about bison to the nearly 350 culinary professionals attending the Chefs’ Collaborative Summit in Boulder, Colorado. The chefs at the meeting largely came from independent restaurants across America, and are leaders in creating menus with fresh, locally grown produce and meat. They were extremely receptive to the story of bison as America’s Original Red Meat.

Later that day, I boarded a plane to fly to Washington D.C. so that I could give a presentation the next morning to the key negotiators from the United States and Europe who are working to hammer out a new long term trade agreement between our country and the European Union.

Eighty percent of my message was identical to the presentation I had delivered to the chefs.  Not because I was too lazy to mix things up. Because 80 percent of our message is the same, regardless of the audience.

Local is the top buzzword among American chefs right now. Restaurants across the country are springing up with menus laced with food sourced from local, sustainable growers. One of the top words for Europeans is locale. Shoppers in Europe appreciate the thought of food that was produced in distinct regions. In fact, Europeans argue that only cheese produced in the Parma region of Italy should be allowed to be labeled as Parmesan.

I’ll leave it up to others to wring out the details of regulations regarding the labeling of food.

All I know is that bison is building fans because it is the local food that carries the taste of its locale.

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