By Eton Tsuno, Green Coffee Buyer at Temple Coffee
What is the definition of “Local” and how is it applicable to your local coffee roaster? The definition of locally produced seems to span anywhere from a 50 to 100 mile radius, and often much further. There are no rules or regulations for labeling products “local.” Does the product need to be produced locally? Grown locally? Manufactured locally? Exactly what is this thing we call Local?
Recently at a “local” vendor dinner, I was served dishes produced using “local” ingredients, and each producer/supplier talked about where the food you were eating was from, and how it was special. I was thrown aback when the “local” shellfish purveyor was providing the dinner with clams from the east coast, and mussels from Newfoundland. Obviously, he is a local distributor of these amazing shellfish. However, after hearing where the actual product was from, I began envisioning a warehouse with live tanks where shellfish is shipped and stored until sold, then trucked out when ordered. Does this make these shellfish local? Not exactly. His business? Yes.
It got me thinking about our own position as a Green Coffee Buyer and Roaster in the Specialty Coffee industry, and how “Local” or “Locality” is viewed within our industry and to casual observers. We purchase coffee from all over the world: Is our coffee local? Kind of. We are roasting and creating a finished product here in Sacramento. For me, I can say that if you are in Sacramento, Temple Coffee is your local roaster/retailer.