A blog about Hudson, New York

Heavy Metal

An earthquake, approaching hurricane, the folding of Rural Intelligence (to which I was a proud contributor of articles and other editorial), a shooting on Columbia Street, and Linda Mussmann throwing her hat into the mayoral ring.  All in all, an unsettling week — just the sort that a nice benzodiazipine and/or dry martini were tailor made for. One little development that did bring cheer: seeing people actually working on a sympathetic restoration of one of my favorite buildings in town, the Diamond Street Diner. As Sam Pratt reported in his blog over a week ago, this is being done by the folks from Grazin Angus Acres, who left the grass fed cows behind and were busy polishing chrome and painting over previous coats of dayglo orange and pink  with no doubt more appropriate Streamline Moderne colors. (They say they are still waiting for a call back from a certain architectural expert in town, who salvaged much of the diner’s original interior detailing during a previous remodeling.) The fare from Grazin Angus–  “animal welfare approved  raised beef, raised  in a sustainable 2,000-acre eco-friendly environment” — is just the kind of enlightened  21st- century updating of the diner motif that this building (and town)  deserves.  I even heard rumors that it will emulate the now -closed Empire Diner in Chelsea and be open 24 hours a day, but that seems a bit of a stretch for our wee little hamlet.                                          — Scott Baldinger

One Response to Heavy Metal

  1. Scott,

    This is even more important for Columbia County (which many in Hudson often it seems forget we are part of): the Gibsons’ redevelopment of the Diamond Street Diner is an example of how forward-thinking farmers and food processors are beginning to think about their brands, their markets, and the benefits of vertical integration (rather than the horizontal integration which has marked the last sixty-plus years’ of agricultural development in the US and indeed the world). Thus, this investment by GAA speaks to the high value-add traceability injects into a foodshed based on non-industrial agricultural methods — farms and processors which eschew factory-like methods for the husbanding of livestock and monoculture planting schemes for fruits and vegetables, and adopt practices that ensure the ethical treatment of both the land and the animals raised on it. In other words, in the land where factory-farmed spinach from a single megafarm can make half the US sick, knowing the source of your proteins and plants is worth whatever extra cost local sourcing adds: you pay the grocer or you pay the doctor (i.e. the insurance company) — it’s our choice. And, by moving up the “food chain” (no pun intended) and getting closer to the consumer of its products, GAA can keep their prices lower than they’d otherwise be if the Diner were owned by you or me (who would, arguably, have to purchase the products the Gibsons themselves raise in order to serve them). So local becomes more affordable, more accessible and, almost as important, it keeps the money circulating here among local businesses. In the final analysis then, the Diner is an example of how a rising tide lifts all ships within a community. I can’t wait for my first cheeseburger deluxe!

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