Steamboat talk to focus on sustainable groceries


Past Event

Talking Green series: Pete Marczyk

  • Wednesday, March 28, 2012, 6 p.m.
  • Bear River Bar & Grill, Steamboat Springs
  • Not available / Free - $10



Courtesy photo

Sustainable foods advocate and food store owner Pete Marczyk, of Marczyk Fine Foods, will speak about shopping sustainably at an event in Steamboat Springs at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Bear River Bar & Grill.

When sustainable foods advocate and food store owner Pete Marczyk goes grocery shopping, he votes with his wallet toward greater sustainability in the food system.

Marczyk said he passes by 99 cent per pound chicken or pork because he knows ranchers cannot raise an economically sustainable product at that price. To raise chicken or pork to sell at that low price, ranchers often have to mass-produce and warehouse animals, as well as treat the poultry and swine with too many chemicals and drugs, Marczyk said.

“All natural meat, free range, grass fed, organic — shopping nowadays seems to require a degree in farming,” Marczyk said, who has been president of Marczyk Fine Foods for the past 10 years. “How do you know when the truth is on the label, and when it’s just a bit of a stretch?”

The successful Denver grocer will be in Steamboat Springs to present “Buying Sustainably at Your Grocery Store” as part of the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council’s Talking Green educational series. The event starts at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Bear River Bar & Grill across from the gondola at Steamboat Ski Area.

The grocer said his talk also could be labeled as “99 cent pork is no deal.”

“People ask all the time after presentations, ‘How do I make a difference?’” Marczyk said. “We always answer, ‘vote with your wallet.’ Don’t be seduced by that cheap chicken or 99 cent pork. American farmers, after being encouraged to plant from fencepost to fencepost, and subsidized for doing so, have found that it is still hard to make a buck. And the farmers who are breeding and raising animals are equally challenged. The best way to change the system is to buy from the producers who share your values.”

The gourmet grocer and former financial consultant grew up in a rural Massachusetts and raised chickens as a kid. He co-owns two markets in Denver with his wife and brother. In the Marczyk Fine Foods meat department, the slogan is “the truth is in the taste.”

Marczyk has been called “Denver’s most eloquent grocer” by the Denver Post. In Steamboat, he’ll talk about why and how to buy sustainably and why it matters to a family’s health. He’ll discuss where the breakdown in sustainability occurs in food systems and how to support sustainable practices through consumer food choices.

The educational community event is co-sponsored by YVSC, Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp., New Power Fund and HomeLink Magazine.


Brian Kotowski 5 years, 1 month ago

Interesting how Mr. Marczyk trashes the 99 cent chicken, but doesn't attach a price tag to any of the products he's shilling for. As it happens, I read the article just before I left for my weekly grocery run, so here are some comparisons – all prices observed at City Market this morning:

Whole chicken, 5.4 pounds: $5.27. Organic, 4.5 pounds: $15.00 Red bell peppers: buck a piece. Organic: $5/lb. Zucchini: $1.89/lb. Organic: $2.99/lb. Broccoli: $1.79/lb. Organic: $2.99/lb

This past summer I stopped at a farmer's market in Craig. Selected an eggplant and a couple of heirloom tomatoes. My pupils dilated when they rang me up for $14. I don't know if the produce from that vendor was “organic” or “sustainable” or not, but in my experience products that are are significantly more expensive.

Incidentally, the 98-cent-a-pound chicken I purchased is being converted into a roasted chicken stock as we speak, and will later result in the World's Greatest chicken noodle soup. Bon Appetit!


rhys jones 5 years, 1 month ago

Why do I find "groceries" and "sustainable" somehow incongruous?


Kevin Nerney 5 years, 1 month ago

Sep-- Let's do a side by side taste test. I love the competition and always willing to learn a thing or two, might be fun. I love chicken noodle soup. Swing on by the Soup Kitchen on 11th and Oak and say Hi.


Steve Lewis 5 years, 1 month ago

Buy a batch of strawberries or broccoli at the supermarket. Get the cheapest you find. Then score a batch of strawberries or broccoli from your neighbors' gardens. Taste them side by side. The broccoli differences may not grab you, but the strawberries' differences will knock your socks off. Hard to believe they are the same fruit.

As more of us buy local, the numbers of growers will increase and the value will too. Rocking J is awesome, thanks John!


rhys jones 5 years, 1 month ago

Pardon my flippancy; I know not whereof I speak.


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