Mmmm, food (edit)

I realized this post was really poorly written late at night and while the thoughts might have been worth saving, it was painful for me to read.

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I have ranted that I can’t afford organic milk or produce on a teachers salary. I smile at a colleague who felt very good about having organic produce stuff delivered to her door. Her parents must have paid for her college.

I am somewhere between penny pincher maniac and organic farming advocate. Still I really do love food and cooking. It could be my grandma, the constant farmer and social activist, it could be nesting.

I just love food.

I might now and then be able to buy organic. However, when the stuff labeled organic is flown in from New Zealand, what is the net benefit to the environment to buy such products? What is the purpose?  It sometimes tastes better, but honestly, if it is organic from the grocery store, I usually can’t tell much difference in taste, only in how much I spent.  Can you?

I admit to being influenced, I am reading Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.

Her information is not new. Everything we eat has corn in it.

The fresh, sparkly, uniform looking produce has had the taste hybridized right out of it. I look at my tasteless polypropylene veggies from Fred’s with even more longing.

How happy I am to have food.

How much happier I would be if my food tasted like something, rather than having been altered to resist diseases, withstand shipping, have uniform appearance and have no blemish.

The book is stoking my fires to pursue my farmers markets here in my new town more vigorously, as well as be a little more daring and persistent in gardening edibles.

edit: The next day…

So today I went to the farmer’s market. I took 20 dollars from the cash machine. Here are my organic/local-advocate penny pincher conclusions:

1. I stopped at a roadside produce market on the way to McMinnville Oregon, where the farmer’s market was. There they were selling the (tasteless) seedless watermelons that I have learned to avoid.

They had apples from New Zealand, because apples are not in season here.

They had peaches. They had 2 kinds; some from Cali and some locally grown, the locally grown ones you could find if you asked for them. The local peaches were hard and the California peaches were soft. I bought the local ones and they were extremely crunchy, which probably ships well, but is just all wrong for a peach. They were sort of sweet, were rather green inside and were, well crunchy. Husband rejected them, A slowly munched them down.  They softened in a few days.

They had Hermiston, Oregon cantaloupe, which I bought, even though they looked like they might be on the way out. Was pleasantly surprised at home at how incredibly sweet and flavorful it was, for only 62 cents a pound.  Eureka!

2. At the farmers market, many of the booths were absolutely mobbed with people. I bought garlic, basil, green beans, cukes, sweet corn. I considered the blackberries and raspberries, but they were 2 or 3 bucks for about 40 berries, and I was running out of money and had no immediate idea what to do with them.

3. There was a guy there selling his own farm grown chickens. 4 dollars a pound, about 15 dollars per chicken.

I can buy factory farmed (Fosters) chickens for about 6 dollars each.   If I spent over twice as much on a chicken we would probably only be able to eat meat 2 to 3 times a week.

This, and the price on my garlic reminded me of why I haven’t previously made a commitment to only buy organic produce previously: it is expensive.

I am aware that the cheap 3 bulbs for a buck garlic I have been buying is probably from China, I have heard that this is the case.

I am aware that with the non-organic stuff I buy, especially if I buy out of season, it starts to rot the minute I get it home. Case in point, a bag of onions I bought in June (not onion season here in Oregon), over half the bag I had to compost because it grew mushy with black spots within 2 weeks. Grrrr. How this upsets the penny pincher in me. Normally a bag of onions never goes bad here.

So the high cost of buying all this organic produce means one thing: I have to get serious about gardening. The other option is to eat meatless meals as much as 5 or 6 times per week. I would be fine with that, but J would rebel.

In the background of my thoughts and heart there are two feelings:  one of excitement about the challenge to somehow get better fresh foodstuffs –knowing I am going to have to learn more about gardening, soil, heirloom seeds etc.

The other feeling is wishing I could just go to the store and feel good about what I was buying there and not go broke doing it, or end up with this produce that is a far cry from what anyone grows in their garden, under the guise of being better (because it makes more money), even though it often tastes like almost nothing.

So I have gone way beyond just buying organic stuff.  I am launching into a whole new area… wonder how long this will last?  (wink wink nudge nudge)

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