Thursday, June 26, 2008

Opting for Fresh and Local

After picking fresh fruits and vegetables from our garden in Italy, I’m starting to realize that FRESH is far more important to me than ORGANIC. Books like Organic, Inc. and The Omnivore’s Dilemma debunk the organic label in favor of small and local.

I just came from a frustrating trip to the farmers’ market with someone who was intent on finding organic produce. Only one stand advertised being organic and had very few offerings.

We talked to a vendor who said her farm used natural methods and “squashed bugs with their fingers”, but had decided to forego the paperwork that claiming organic necessitates.

When I am confronted with plastic-tasting strawberries from mega-organic farms and bright red berries grown a couple of miles down the road, there is absolutely no choice in my mind.

Bring on the fresh, local produce of summer!


Blogger Kristin said...

Living close to Eastern Market and belonging to a CSA are spoiling me. Fresh and local definitely determine what I buy, cook and eat.

I've never had blackberries as sweet as those I picked in Louisiana a couple of months ago. Those that you buy for far too much money in the store just aren't the same.

11:17 AM  
Blogger Kellyann Brown said...

When something takes a long trip, it often loses it's flavor. Thankfully, I live in California. We have had some absolutely wonderful cherries this year. Yesterday, Mom and I stopped by a roadside stand that was selling strawberries that were being picked in the field behind the stand. This is a very good time to live here! (Mom still buys bananas, but I only buy produce grown in California)

11:23 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

I bought blueberries in the grocery store last week, and though they looked nice and had some tartness, they were largely without flavor. Maybe I need to check out my farmer's market more often!

12:02 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Kristin -- I want to talk to you about the CSA and possibly join one.

Kelly -- CA does indeed sound like the Garden of Eden (or maybe the Garden of Eating!)

Steve -- I've had the same experience with blueberries. Maybe next week I'll buy them at the farmers' market and see if that makes a difference.

4:51 PM  
Blogger Pauline said...

"Buy Local" is indeed good advice as long as the farmers aren't spraying their fields and foods with the same poisons commercial growers use. It's always safest to ask. We have a working farm in town that offers tours so folks can see how both plants and animals are raised. Everyone is encouraged to volunteer some work time and there are workshops in growing food naturally. I cheat. I grow my own. There are blueberries on a bush in the yard (covered with cheesecloth when they ripen to deter the birds), blackberries at my daughter's house, blackcaps growing in the back of the cottage and pick-your-own raspberries at another local organic farm. I grow my own vegetables without benefit of poisons (I use a spray of mild, earth-friendly dish soap and hot pepper flakes), keep a compost pile, and jar or freeze produce in the fall. Recalling Victory Gardens during the war and knowing the plethora of container gardening books available, I'm amazed that more folks don't grow some of their own food.

6:49 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Paulilne -- You may just inspire me to start a vegetable garden once again!

7:10 AM  
Blogger DC Food Blog said...

Hey Barbara! I highly recommend joining Clagett Farm CSA if you can. They work hard to make sure a large percentage of their shares go to low-income folks. If you pick up form the farm itself, you pretty much get back your money in flowers alone!

3:49 PM  
Anonymous David said...

I agree with Pauline 100%. Local is fine, but if you're buying produce with chemical poisons, their appeal is way less for me!

5:24 PM  
Blogger Gary said...

Few things rival the appeal of fresh fruit. That is one of the highlights of summer. Being able to wander to the local farmer's market or fruit stand knowing that I will have lots of delicious treats for the coming week.

I was just talking with some friends last night about what we would do if we won lots of money. I said I would hire a nutritionist to shop and prepare healthy food for me. Not the grandest dream but wouldn't that be nice?

5:07 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Gary -- I can think of no better way to spend lots of money!

I'm so excited because we just signed up for a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program that my friend Kristin uses. We will get a crate of fresh locally-grown pesticide-free fruits and veggies every Saturday (43 weeks a year). It sounds perfect!

5:13 PM  

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