Apples from Chile, pears from Mexico, grapes from Brazil…do you know where your produce comes from or what actually goes into the growing of the plants? I grew up eating a lot of fruits and vegetables, some my mother grew in her garden and others she bought. Through this I enjoy eating a large variety of produce. The produce my parents used to buy wasn’t shipped from all over the world either. I try to grow my own in the summers but don’t have the green thumb my parents do. So, I must buy the bulk of the produce for my family’s meals. This is a costly thing to do as well as difficult.
Living in a small rural town in the middle of Nevada doesn’t provide us with much produce. We may be the alfalfa capital of the world, but much of the food for our consumption must be shipped in. If we are lucky we will get produce from California or other nearby states, but most of the time, I find labels from out of the country. Knowing what I do about produce, I know that these fruits and vegetables were not picked at their peak for if they were, they would be rotten or over ripe by the time they get here.
Produce picked at its peak is preferable because of the nutrition and the flavor. Produce picked early, stored, and shipped (possibly grown in hot houses) have no or little flavor. A person growing up on shipped produce alone doesn’t know what they are missing, but one having fresh foods throughout her childhood really understands. There is even a difference between something that has been grown in a garden and picked that day or hour within eating compared to something picked a few days ahead of time. I read a post today where the person was asking why restaurants put tomatoes on the burgers. All I could think of as a reply was that if the tomato was home grown, they would know why it is good on a burger. But the ones in the restaurants are flavorless, texture free pieces of pink food.
On top of this, knowing of what is put on or into our food is appreciated. When we grow our own food, we know what we use. And in my case, my parents and I do not use pesticides or chemicals. But what is grown for markets typically has many different pesticides and fertilizers. There is a chemical used when the produce is picked and packaged to keep it from ripening and another to ripen the produce when it arrives at its selling point. Oh, a person could buy organic in the market, but they will pay for it.
I might have found a solution or two. There is a local farmer who feels the same way I do and has opened up a fruit stand. They do bring produce from outside the state, but not from across the country. Oh, the peaches were so juicy and sweet. I went back every week buying what was in season. Unfortunately the season is over for most produce in the area. So, my other solution…a greenhouse. My husband is building me a greenhouse that is attached to our house. I already have a couple of citrus trees potted and my herbs. Now I am going to try to grow lettuce, tomatoes, peas, and a few other salad type vegetables. If this goes well, I am going to buy other plants that don’t like our cold to see if I can grow them in pots. I will have to take them out during our summers because it would be too hot even with the vents, but with luck and a bit of learning, I can have the fresh produce I have been dreaming about. No more fruits that are flavored by the soils they are grown in or mealy tomatoes because of the shipping process. No more high costs. I could have tomatoes that tastes as they were meant to taste.