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A Weekly Food Round-up - June 11, 2009

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By James Geneau

We had some time to reflect on what was happening in the internet world today.  With Twitter, Facebook, mySpace, and e-mail it can be hard to stay on top of everything.  Anyhow, here is the first in our new daily updates of what is happening within the good food movement.

It was not a fun week for local food.  It was a week of questionable PR campaigns, battling journalists, and missing berries.

Before we discuss this week, it is important to note that last week for foodies on the Twitter front was all about the Hellman’s Eat Real and Eat Local Campaign.  Everyone was jumping on the anti-Hellman’s wave and many outspoken journalists took the digital world like a witch burning in Salem!  The anger was further fueled by an article on Grist.org by Paul Philpott entitled “Eat real. Eat local. Eat ... Hellman’s Mayo?” critiqued the campaign, the Web site, and the attempt by Hellman’s to repeat a failed campaign they previously tried in the United States.  The next day, an article by City Food Magazine in Vancouver entitled “Dear Hellman’s, Get Real!” slammed Unilever and the campaign.  Both of these articles fled through the internet like rabid beasts from a sci-fi fantasy flick.  Needless to say, it was a bad week for Unilever.  It goes to show that die-hard foodies are a tough crowd and don’t take any mayo from just anybody!  Who will win the battle?   Hard to say but will be watching with great interest.

On the local Toronto front, this week was all about Jamie Kennedy - the “pin-up” chef for local and sustainable fresh cuisine.  He invited the media to a goodbye lunch at his former Gardiner restaurant for a little nosh and discussion about himself, his business, and his troubles.  Inside the mix was also a clear message that he intends to support local food and encouraged others to do the same.  Gremolata found it to be inspirational, not sad Click Here for James Geneau’s Report.  Not so, with all of the guests.  The Globe and Mail publicized it as “the rapid decline of a slow food empire” which caused a flurry of Tweets around the article with the message that Slow Food was dead and a mixed-bag of opinions on the article, Jamie, and the need to support local food.

Finally, another big story for local foodies has been around Strawberries and “where the hell are they”?  We ran into Lucy Barnett from Compostellae on Saturday at the Withrow Park Farmers’ Market during our LIVE Twitter feed who informed us that they are forming, but need a warmer June to really take off.  On Wednesday, The Toronto Star published a good article entitled “Cool weather putting a chill on berry crop” stating the same thing, that the cooler months have kept the berries from reaching full potential.  Looks like we will just have to be patient!



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