, Volume 73, Issue 1, pp 23–30 | Cite as

Creating the taste of place in the United States: can we learn from the French?

  • Amy B. TrubekEmail author
  • Sarah Bowen


In the United States, there is a growing awareness of the implications of our globalized food system, a system that incorporates all manner of agriculture, food distribution, food processing and transformation, and consumption. The ever increasing distance between where our food is produced and where it is consumed has helped spur a movement to develop a system of place based foods. Right now multiple models are in play, including farmers markets, community supported agriculture, and the localvore movement. This article will do a close examination of another model from France, the French system of appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC); nationally regulated by the French Ministry of Agriculture it supports and protects foods and drinks with unique links to particular territories. The AOC system is based on geographically distinct and historically specific food and drink found throughout France. By closely examining one AOC product—Comté cheese produced in the rural agricultural region in Jura—the authors consider the possibilities for an AOC-style system in the United States.


Local foods Globalized food system Quality labels Certification Terroir France United States Cheese 


  1. Barham, E. (2003). Translating terroir: The global challenge of French AOC labeling. Journal of Rural Studies, 19, 127–138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barndt, D. (2002). Tangled routes: Women, work and globalization on the tomato trail. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.Google Scholar
  3. Benkahla, A., Boutonnet, J. P., & Fort, F. (2005). Enjeux de la certification d’origine et stratégies d’acteurs: le cas de l’AOC Pélardon. Economies et Sociétés, A.G., 27, 817–894.Google Scholar
  4. Colinet, P., Desquilbet, M., Hassan, D., Monier-Dilhan, S., Orozco, V., & Réquillart, V. (2006). Case study: Comté cheese in France. Toulouse: Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, Unité d’Economie et Sociologie RuralesGoogle Scholar
  5. Gerz, A., & Dupont, F. (2006). Comté cheese in France: Impact of a geographical indication on rural development. In P. van de Kop, D. Sautier & A. Gerz (Eds.), Origin-based products: Lessons for pro-poor market development (pp. 75–87). Amsterdam: KIT Publishers.Google Scholar
  6. Hendrickson M., & Heffernan, W. (2007). Concentration of agricultural markets. Retrieved July 15, 2007, from
  7. Institut Nationale de l’Origine et de la Qualité (INAO). (2007). Chiffres clés. Retrieved August 28, 2007, from
  8. Josling, T. (2006). The war on terroir: Geographical indications as a transatlantic trade conflict. Journal of Agricultural Economics, 57, 337–363.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Lyson, T. (2004). Civic agriculture: Reconnecting farm, food, and community. Boston: Tufts University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Nabhan, G., West, P., & Pirog, R. (2005). Linking Arizona’s sense of place to a sense of taste: Marking the heritage value of Arizona’s place-based foods. Flagstaff: Northern Arizona University Center for Sustainable Environments.Google Scholar
  11. Pollan, M. (2006). The omnivore’s dilemma. New York: Penguin Press.Google Scholar
  12. Stevenson, G. W., Ruhf, K., Lezberg, S., & Clancy, K. (2007). Warrior, builder and weaver work: Strategies for changing the food system. In C. Hinrichs & T. Lyson (Eds.), Remaking the North American food system: Strategies for sustainability (pp. 33–64). Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.Google Scholar
  13. Trubek, A. (2008). The taste of place: A cultural journey into terroir. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  14. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). (2007). AMS farmers’ markets. Retrieved July 15, 2007, from

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences, 251 Carrigan WingUniversity of VermontBurlingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Sociology and AnthropologyNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA

Personalised recommendations