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Reality Eating

February 11, 2015

716px-Central_Kitchen_SF_(7185366285)There’s reality tv – how about reality eating? A recent conversation on a Facebook board brought up what seems to be a Grand Canyon sized chasm of missing link information that shouldn’t be. Agriculture, food processors and the “big food” companies people love to hate yet don’t want to do without all exist to provide you, the consumer, with food that you want, usually when, where and how you want it.

Billions of dollars are spent to fill the grocery stores, farmers markets, roadside stands and CSAs with a variety of produce, meats, grains, candy, cookies, dairy products and more that is demanded by the modern American consumer. Sometimes the requests are impossible, and sometimes research finds a way. Many have an interest in reducing food waste – consumers don’t like paying food money for food that goes bad.

Discussion was underway about a Simplot potato – it resists bruising (those black spots potatoes get) and turning brown. It is a genetically engineered variety being tested and comes about due to shipping and food waste. Someone commented “just don’t buy so much that it goes bad. Use it up before it goes bad.”

While that is certainly a noted comment, something else came to mind. Seasonal eating. Crops, generally, are planted and harvested at one time of year. Now there may be strawberries that are early varieties, mid season and late season. There are various fruit trees that bear at different times, but this time of year in most of the USA there is not anything growing – certainly not enough to feed a city.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASomeone has to store them – if you don’t, commodity companies do in order to have them to sell to you long after harvest. Alternately, they are imported from another country, which usually in the store I shop at is noted where the produce comes from.

The canned goods, jars, frozen items – all fruits and vegetables that someone else processed so that you don’t have to and yet still have food available long after sweet corn is not in the fields! Walnuts and pecans are available year round, not because they grow year round but because someone insures it’s available.

If we truly ate seasonally, there would be many hungry people this time of year! Those not prepared and not stored up wouldn’t have food!

In the fear of GMO, someone else chimed in about an apple they were sure was GMO – it sat in the kitchen for weeks and didn’t ripen to red! It’s not GMO – it’s probably a variety of apple that…doesn’t turn red! Some apples are ripe at green. Like some peppers will mature as red or orange or chocolate, some just stay green!

There are thousands of varieties for each thing that we grow for the food supply. Over 3,000 varieties of hot peppers, and over 3,000 varieties of sweet peppers. Most see 2-3 at the grocery store but that doesn’t mean the rest aren’t being grown! Maybe there’s not enough demand, or it’s a variety that doesn’t ship well or you have to seek out small growers that are maintaining them.

Many folks don’t know a duck is more than white, or chickens come in a rainbow of colors. There are thousands of varieties of corn. Does it matter? Of course it does! It’s your food supply too and we’re trying to stock it! Don’t underestimate consumer demand – what people buy is what you’ll see more of, whether direct or at the mega-superstore.

More than ever, farmers seek to share what we do with consumers. Are you ready to share and listen? Are you ready to learn and teach us what you really want to buy? Awesome! Let’s connect!

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