Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Reason for the Seasons: Eat Fresh & Local and Toss the Fiber Drinks!

Strawberries:  In Seaason Locally Now!

As you shop for goodies for the long holiday weekend, please remember our Farmers' Markets, Farmers' Stands and, for you local folks,  Fair Food Farms in the Reading Terminal Market.  These are all places where you can find fresh, non-chemically altered, humanely raised food for your cookouts and celebrations.  You will also be able to buy seasonal food from these producers and vendors.  Why do I harp on this seasonal thing so much?  Well, folks, there a tons of reasons to eat food that is "in season"!

Let's think about it.  In order for produce to be shipped thousands of miles to a stupermarket - so you can buy it out of season - it is picked before it's ripe and then sprayed with chemicals to preserve it, and then sometimes sprayed again with chemicals to speed up the maturation process after it lands where it is going. Yum!  Consider also that agri-business is committed to food that looks "perfect" (they have to make up for all those chemicals somehow) so we have been conditioned to believe that anything that looks real is bad.  This lead to tremendous waste!  Listen to folks looking at tomatoes at the Markets - eventually you will hear someone say, "This is not round!  Look it has a mark on it!".  Gently educate if you can stand it. Please!

See the strawberries in the picture above?  See the little one we removed from the box?  Not perfect.  In fact, very weirdly shaped.  It would never make it to that stand of "perfect" strawberries in the stupermarket.  But it was delicious!  Nature doesn't screw up that way - we do when we waste food!

Just two more points worth considering:  First, if you can, why wouldn't you support your local producers instead of paying for products grown or "developed" far, far away?  Eat from where you live. Nothing is better for "outgrowing" allergies!  Find out what's available in your area and use it.  We live in a rich, rich area - Lancaster Farmers, Mid State ranchers, cheese makers, local honey producers, free range chickens, fabulous farm fresh eggs, and of course Jersey Tomatoes, Corn and Blueberries - just to name a few items among the bounty we have literally outside our doors.

Secondly, there's the health issue.  If you are going to eat something, isn't it worth a few more dollars not to put something into your body that's covered with chemicals and hormones and/or that has led a  tortured life?  And, for our purposes here, I am not even going to get into a discussion of "shelf stable" dinners in boxes, frozen "foods" that are really a lab in a bag, etc. And remember, our support of local producers gives them the ability to provide fresh food to people in lower income areas as well.

Eat fresh, local, seasonal, and humanely raised and you can get rid of that disgusting powder stuff so many people I know drink in their orange juice each morning!  You can stop eating that faux yogurt a la Jamie Lee Curtis (why doesn't she return to the movies?) - probiotics EXIST in real food!!!  Fiber EXISTS in real food!  As do vitamins and nutrients.

The elephant in the room here, for many folks, and many folks I know for sure, is that when you buy fresh you have to cook!  In the coming weeks I hope that we can start having a conversation about effective ways to shop and cook fresh and local even when our schedules are tight - and who's schedule isn't?

For now, just remember:  there's a reason for the seasons!    Have a Happy Memorial Day weekend and for goodness sake, cook something!!!

Artichokes and Baby Eggplants!

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