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17 October 2006

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Oh, how I wish OITF would set up an east coast operation... I can't wait to hear about your meals.

Thanks for another lovely ode to farmers!

This is not exactly on topic but Tana, would you give weigh in with a definition of an artisan farmer/producer, whether it be cheese or pork or beans?

I'm doing a local article about independent grocery stores that can and do source local products. To distinguish themselves from the Giant Eagles and Safeways, they often claim to bring artisan products in. But a grocery store owner I talked to yesterday said his Carr Valley Cheddar from Wisconsin was just such a product. But when i called the company, they told me they do about 4000 pounds of cheese a day and have annual sales of $12 million. That's not artisan, to my mind. But they claim to have a branch of their company that works on experimental hand-crafted cheese. So maybe part of them is.

My question is, and I asked an artisan farmer this as well: how do you define artisan? Is there and actual number of pounds you produce beyond which you're not artisan? Obviously no exact figure. But what would you say? When you start moving beyond XX pounds of XX dairy product (or XX pounds meat product), you're no longer artisanal. Is Paul Bertolli no longer an artisanal sausage maker?

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