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Organics

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Fancy Food Show Brings Colonial Fruit Drinks and Our Old Friend Kulfi

We took a break from our regularly scheduled Greenmarket food fest to hike through acres of fancy foods from the world over at last week’s Fancy Food Show. Over 2,000 displays filled the Javits Center with everything from antifreeze-green Chilean avocado oil to Brooklyn-made gummy bears that were actually the size of honey bears. To avoid going into fancy-food shock, we honed in on the (often overlapping) new and organic/natural categories. Here’s highlights, all currently available in the city.

Taking Food Snobbery to the Next Level; Paula Deen and the Pork Giant

“Localvores” are highly virtuous and a big pain in the ass. [NYDN] Paula Deen finds herself on the wrong side of a Smithfield Foods labor dispute, and striking workers are calling for her to sever ties with the pork giant. [NYT] It’s not just red wine with fish anymore: Celebrity chefs are leading the way toward more imaginative wine and beer pairings, from Joe Bastianich's pouring Dom Pérignon rosé with roast pheasant to Laurent Tourondel's quaffing beer with his steak. [Forbes]

An Interactive Tour of the Country’s Greenest Food Business

Maury Rubin has more on his mind than pretzel croissants. The chef-owner of bi-coastal branches of the City Bakery has become consumed of late with food miles, volatile organic compounds, and wax-lined coffee cups, those pernicious symbols of our disposable (but non-biodegradable) society. He has just opened the second outpost of Birdbath (code name: Sparrow), his pastry-shop side project that originated as a way to generate cash flow out of the front of his East Village commercial kitchen and has become, according to Rubin, “the greenest food business in the country.”

Bowery Whole Foods: An Effing Steamroller?

Will a splashy new Whole Foods on the Bowery leave a trail of wilted organic markets in its wake? The vegetarian, all-organic, and entirely volunteer-run 4th Street Food Co-op and a handful of other nearby stores now have to compete with the city’s biggest location: The Bowery outpost, which opened last week, clocks in at 71,000 square feet. The Union Square emporium? 51,000. With stores set to open in Brooklyn, Tribeca, and Harlem in the next two years, the Whole Foods backlash is in full swing.

‘Local’ Actor Makes Good (Coffee)

Struggling actors used to wait tables to pay the bills. These days, they open coffee shops. First came Jack’s Stir-Brew, the homespun, four-table nook where Jack Mazzola fends off ever-encroaching Starbucks with Fair Trade beans, organic apples, and a conspicuously neighborhood-friendly vibe. And then late last month, Craig Walker, an avowed Jack’s fan, followed suit with Local, an equally pint-size nook with a similarly enlightened approach to sourcing beans and fostering community.

Did Michael Pollan Throw the Whole Foods Debate? (Just Asking)

What exactly is up with Michael Pollan? We sat up late into the night waiting for him to put hard questions to Whole Foods CEO John Mackey in the discussion we previewed the other day. Part of Pollan’s bestselling book The Omnivore’s Dilemma was devoted to unmasking Whole Foods’ claims to sustainability and the like, but when the author finally sat down with Mackey, he was as cordial and giving as the publicity-obsessed CEO. Still, the discussion being two hours and all, there were inevitably highlights. (If you prefer to comb through it yourself, you may do that here.)