A taste of place: exploring terroir

by Kelly Sanderbeck, Communications and Development Director, PCC Farmland Trust

This article was originally published in April 2008

In the wine world it’s called “terroir,” a French word that translates literally as “land” but colloquially means “a sense of place.” The concept developed through centuries of winemaking and is based on what makes wines from different regions, or even different sections of the same vineyard, distinct. Their taste reflects the impact of natural elements, such as climate and soil type.

Europeans have embraced this concept for centuries and we’re beginning to see it reflected here, too. Think Walla Walla onions, Washington apples and Copper River salmon.

In Europe, consumers understand that wines from Champagne or Burgundy express the taste of the land and reflect a place-based pride in the products. Over the past 15 years, the European Union has identified 746 place-based foods.

Terroir is diversity at the grass-roots level. It’s something we don’t get from industrial-scale farming operations. It cannot be “made” or manufactured.

Terroir also speaks to farmers who believe that focusing on growing conditions will make their products stand out in the market, and to economists who see the potential to restore and protect rural communities. Others believe that promoting terroir could help quell fears about food safety and help farmers earn more money so they’re more likely to stay on the land.

The PCC Farmland Trust preserves threatened farmland because it’s necessary for food security and supports the growing number of people who want local, organic and sustainable food. Your contributions to the Trust — money, time and energy — are the backbone of this movement.

Keep shopping locally and promote your own “taste of place.” Imagine tourists visiting the Northwest just to experience a Nash’s Best carrot or some sweet Thundering Hooves beef!

Simple ways to support the Trust

  • The new Puget Sound Community Change card makes it easy to “shop locally, share locally.” The PCC Farmland Trust is one of the beneficiaries and the cards are free. For information, visit www.pugetsound.cc.
  • A new search engine called GoodSearch (www.goodsearch.com) will donate to the trust every time you search the Web. Check it out and designate the PCC Farmland Trust as your charity.

Thank you corporate partners

Peterson Fruit, Monterey Gourmet Foods, and United Natural Foods each contributed more than $1,000 to help save more farms.

Also in this issue

Gather, eat, nourish

The dinner bell rings. Family members scoot their chairs up to the kitchen table to share a home-cooked meal made from fresh food. This iconic scene has faded some in the last few decades.

Pacific Northwest's first Green Festival

With its focus on sustainability, Seattle is a natural place to host the nation’s largest “green” consumer show, the Green Festival, a joint project of Global Exchange and Co-op America.

News bites, April 2008

Farmers going to Mexico, Rising food prices, GM beet update, and more