It is a delicious irony that an article on “Top 10 Market Pointers” was in the same issue of the Dallas Morning News as “Watermelons exploding like land mines”. If this doesn’t reflect two ends of the food spectrum, I can’t imagine what would.
“Top 10 Market Pointers”, written by Kim Pierce, is a tip list on how to shop local farmers markets, from wine to milk, and covers every subtle nuance from what to bring (small-denomination bills and change and some flexibility!) to how to know what is in season and how “local” is defined.
“Watermelons exploding…” is an AP story straight from Beijing and has a great photo of huge burst melons in a greenhouse in China. Chinese farmers gave the watermelons overdoses of growth chemicals during wet weather, “…creating what state media called fields of land mines.”
The article went on to talk about widespread farming abuses in China. The “drug”, as the growth accelerator forchlorfenuron is described, is not forbidden in China; it is also allowed in the U.S. on kiwi fruit and grapes. The gist of the article emphasizes that farmers in China use both legal and illegal chemicals in their fields and misuse pesticides and fertilizers.
You may recall the horror many organic food shoppers felt last year when they read the back of the in-house frozen food labels at Whole Foods. Several of the products were grown in China. Not what those shoppers were expecting…or wanting on their dinner table.
So the dilemma seems to be an old one: do we believe what we wish to believe because it makes our life easier or do we take responsibility for our choices by doing the research required to be sure we are getting what we truly want. And who can you trust?
Local farmers markets have different rules, some insisting that produce be grown within a 150-mile radius while others allow vendors to mix local and imported in order to offer a wider variety of produce. Obviously, some things are impossible to grow locally, no matter where you live. And there are farms in every area that allow you to pick your own produce so you get to see exactly where your food is coming from. It’s a fun way to involve your entire family and give the kids a lesson in how food ends up on the dinner table. Seeing baby lambs might necessitate some talk therapy when the Sunday rack of lamb is presented, so be prepared.
Bottom line is this: it may become increasingly more difficult to guarantee clean, organic food as more and more large companies hop on the consumer ground-swell for unprocessed, unpolluted food sources. Some education and vigilance on the part of the buyer will be required. Being healthy, as Paul Chek always says, is taking responsibility for one’s choices.
In a world in which, bigger is considered better and faster is a financial no-brainer, there are always going to be companies and individuals thinking only of the bottom line. Legacy believes things can be done the right way, profitably, and we support those folks who are running their businesses within that model.
Here are some sites to help you navigate the “mine field” of good, clean food choices.
(for a map of area markets)
Check out our past blogs for Clean Restaurants in Dallas…there a alot of great places to get wild, grass fed, local and delicious!