Where has the freshness gone
Being from the UK, like other countries such as the US, all food is about convenience yet I continue to read about places such as Japan, Italy and France where the whole country demands freshness in their food and wouldnt dream of it otherwise.
In a stupermarket today they were unloading some bluberries - out of season, but noticably the 'freshest' delivery of the day, yet the place of origin was Morroco! I couldnt help but wonder how long the fruit had been travelling for! Even Carrots (typical british foods) are delivered from aboard - none of which are organic.
I was shocked by how un-fresh every was and how far everything travelled. Im already growing my own fruit and veg, none of which will be ready until summer I'm afraid. But last year I grew my own strawberries - which was when I realised that the best fruit taste better eaten just after being picked.
I'm curious, how fresh is the food near you (or in your country) and does anyone else grow their own fruit and veg. There not even any farmers markets near me, the farmers shop exports their fruit and veg from abroad too!
Well, I'm in Seattle, WA and we have a pretty good growing season (around March to late October), especially for greens. Right now we are using a couple cloches to keep the ground warm enough for our lettuce, broccoli, and some chard, but we have kale, chard, cauliflower, arugula, fennel, and several other greens doing well outside of the cloche already. Fruit is seasonal with melons in the summer, peaches in late summer, and apples, figs, and pears in the autumn. I'm thinking about getting a pomegranate shrub to wheel inside during the winter to see how it does. I have just started my own garden, but my family has been growing a supplemental garden for decades. As a little girl, I would wander through the garden eating fresh organic raspberries, apples, beans, peas, and tomatoes depending on the time of year - it was something I missed and being raw vegan it made sense to set up my own. You are right, things taste the best fresh off the vine or out of the ground. Now my family has a green house and could grow all year (which I plan on helping utilize..muaahahaha :) I'm trying to follow a permaculture model and eventually rely on things going to seed, but plan on continuing to plant my greens for now...My composting has just started, so we'll need to redig next year to give things a better chance in the city...
As far as grocery stores go around here, the larger chains radiate their vegetables to retain the color longer. Yikes. Things are often kept for weeks and put in water in the back to keep them fresher. The concept of Organic has also been watered down. There is a large farm in a valley around here that is organic, but they are in the flood plains so anything upstream is swept down. This is great in terms of minerals from the surrounding mountains, but not so good when you look at the cow pastures. You also can water with water that isn't suitable to fish in, but can go on our organic food. I think "Organic" labeling is losing its meaning. Farmers markets are abundant in the early spring through late fall and the food can be very fresh to three days old or longer. Most of the farmers are very honest.
All of this being said, during the winter I tend to make my big shopping trip for the week and eat throughout the week. Not ideal, but it is what it is. When the garden is producing enough food to graze from, I'll just pick right before I need a salad.
I suppose the ideal environment is closest to the equator where people can grow all year long... All of this is just my opinion - I'm not an expert.
During our growing season, I have very fresh local food. We have many Mennonite farmers and they have huge shops where they co-op and they also sell individually from their farms. Yummy - Can;t wait. A few even have organics - even certified!!
I am gonna freeze all the local strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries that I can afford and have space for. Even if I freeze it, I figure the nutrients lost will not equal the nutrients lost from the time factor and all the handling from imported stuff. I have a vacuum packer thing, so they last well with no freezer burn. Has anyone frozen grapes for use in a smoothie, or fresh grape juice? My area produces a lot of grapes.
I had a really hard time this winter with cold smoothies. Hope to do better next season. I did use my green powder, but I found it inferior to a fresh greens smoothie (as in the way I feel and in my hair especially). Anyway, I started my fresh ones last week.
These are very interesting comments about the freshness of fruits and vegetables. Has anyone considered growing their own home farm? In fact, I work for Triscuit and we have included plantable herb seed cards in 4 million boxes of Triscuit to help encourage people to grow their own crops at home. We have also teamed up with Urban Farming to create 50 new community-based home farms throughout the USA. You can connect with members of the Home Farming community on www.triscuit.com/homefarming
I am part of a local food co-op in Toronto, Ontario, Canada called Karma Co-op. They have lots of local produce that travelled a lot less that stuff coming from other countries.
You might want to check and see if their is a co-op in your area!