June 9, 2012

Confused by food labels?

Do you know the difference between cage-free, free-range and pasture chickens? Cage-free simply means no cage, but the chickens may be warehoused close together, lacking enough room to turn around. Free-range means that the chickens have access to the outdoors, but many do not seek that freedom, choosing to stay inside the warehouse where the food is.

So you may be hoodwinked unless you buy eggs from anything other than pasture chickens. They rule the roost! We have been buying our eggs at Zina's Farmstand on Route 5 in James City County (across the entrance to Governor's Land). I can see her chickens and they look happy!

Crabby? You should, because seafood fraud is rampant. More than 90 percent of the crab meat sold in Maryland is not from the Chesapeake Bay, according to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Yet many restaurants advertise “Maryland-style crab cakes,” serving the meat of blue swimmer crabs from Indonesia and Southeast Asia. Even when people buy live blue crabs, they are often from Florida, Texas, or Louisiana, especially in winter.

Dudley's Bistro in New Town offers his customers local crabs. I have already enjoyed his soft shell crabs!