I stopped by Chino Farm yesterday, thinking they were open on Mondays during the summer but it just goes to prove I haven't been anywhere near these parts in the summertime in awhile. The farm was closed, which turned out to be even better, because it gave me the opportunity to visit with the family and ask "How's biz?"
Tom Chino, one of many siblings who run the farm, told me they'd been a bit slow this summer, but that in the last couple of weeks, they've been really busy. The Chinos have a lot of restaurant accounts, and in San Diego, the type of restaurants that buy Chino produce are viewed as special occasion restaurants--or the kind of restaurants that are hit hard by the recession. "We've been really busy," Tom said, in an uncharacteristic moment of... what's the word for the opposite of complete humility, utter self-deprecation?... "So what accounts for the busy-ness," I asked? Could it be that the affects of Food, Inc. are trickling down to the consumer and the farm? Could it be that, at long last, people care where their food comes from? That they have some concept that there is a person behind that which they put in their mouths? Or that at least there should be.
I asked Tom if he'd done an exit poll. "Excuse me Ma'am. What brought you here today?"
I was ribbing him of course, because the Chinos would never ask any such thing. They are too... too... what's the word...? Tom said it for me. He chuckled before he answered... "Uh, no... I didn't... Remember... I'm Japanese."
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