We wanted the Rexicana to serve tacos options for multiple reasons: the ingredients and final product are generally healthy, the quantity of ingredients is low and therefore could be controlled, and many of the ingredients can be sourced locally and regionally. And of course, as surfers we spend our off season surfing across Central America, the Carribean, and other warm locales with preserved regional supply chains, and we craved bringing this to our hometown.
With this premise, we dove headfirst into the weird and wild world of food sourcing and regional food politics.
- The commoditization/homogenization of products to extend shelf life. Have you ever heard your Grandma say that tomatoes used to taste better? Over many years of mass-production, many commercial products have genuinely changed in genetic makeup, as well as being picked/harvested early to promote longer shelf life, which has resulted in bland flavors and appearance of products available in the mass market. Depletion of soil quality and use of fertilizers has contributed to the issue as well.
- De-regionalization of local flavors in the mass market. Produce, meats, etc. all have unique flavor profiles from region to region based on a variety of environmental factors. When food is sourced from mass-market sources, these local flavors are lost in the shuffle. Chefs in many restaurants, and increasingly customers, mourn the loss of regional flavors.
- Loss of the regional culture of cultivating and sharing food. Cultivating and enjoying regional and local foods together as a community brings people together based on a shared love for the labor and love that goes into creating something that people can be proud to grow, cook, and eat. As more and more farms and fisherman in New England go out of business or the owners tick towards retirement without a successor, this culture runs the risk of disappearing entirely. If you want to read more about the problems that farms in New England are facing check out this article here.
- Price. Our tacos, burritos, and salads cost a bit more than Taco Bell or Chipotle. (A 2 taco plate with sides is 12.00, a 3 taco plate with sides is 16.00). For the most part we’ve been fortunate to have a fan base that appreciates the efforts and added costs and is willing and happy to pay the difference. Nonetheless, a giant benefit of mass produced and homogenized food industry that dominates grocery shelves is the proliferation of affordable, shelf stable food which has greatly reduced world hunger and allowed for a massive population boom globally for the past 50 years. Now we seek to find a way to enhance the benefits of the nation's large scale food distribution and supply chain by augmenting and replacing portions of it by reinvesting locally and regionally to re-build and support regional flavors and cultures and land in a happy medium from a price perspective.