Sunday, March 16, 2008

Why should the Farmer’s market be our main source of food

- Fresh food is tasty. Only Farmer’s markets can deliver vine rippened food since its picked before being driven to the market. Vine rippened food is not only the tastiest, it is hard to transport for large agribusiness with distant markets. That's why grocery stores have mealy fruits and vegetables which are picked early for shelf life.

- Its local. The neighboring air and water quality region supplies food to our farmers markets.

- Season food may be healthy. Plants that can survive winter temperatures are different than plants which grow in the summer. The contrasting foods and related storage technologies of drying and picking food are what the human species has evolved on.

- Seasonal food may have less pesticides. The best strawberries occur for a brief period in May when the fruit is filled with sun stored sugars and ripeness. However the popularity of strawberries makes farmer’s try to produce them year round. This time of the year a week before the Spring Equinox there were four vendors at today’s market selling strawberries. Not one of them was organic. These out of season strawberries look like the real thing but they have an insipid cellulosic texture like flavored water with a mild dull strawberry taste. Yet, more than 50% of the farmer’s market in May is made up vendors of loud delicious organic strawberries. Even grocery store shelves are filled with delicious organic berries in May. My conclusion is that foods grown out of season and locality are more susceptible to pests which may prevent organic production.

- No garbage. The store bought food is package for storage and to reduce handling and personnel costs. Food packaging is what makes up the major component of out garbage. The trimmings from the vegetables and fruit from the farmer’s market goes into the compost bin to feed our soil.

- You can further reduce garbage by cleaning and folding your plastic bags, and bundling them in little packets with a rubber band, and then storing the bundle in your cloth market bags. Use these “recycle” plastic bags for the produce from the Farmer’s market stands. When you get home from the farmer's market, clean and fold them back into bundles.

- It spoils if you don’t consume it. Now this may be counter intuitive but if food doesn’t spoil there is something terribly wrong with it, and the chemicals we end up consuming, that is preventing the natural life process from changing the produce.

- take a shopping list. Buy what you need not what you think you will need. Using the grocery store for spot supplies is better than filling your compost pile with farmer’s market spoilage and then not going back to the market.

- Reduced water and energy use. Food packaging in the store is a surrogate for water. The centralized processing plants used by corporate agriculture washes and disinfects produce with bleach before packaging, sometimes not successfully. The finished toxifed product is packaged for long term storage on refriderated and humidified, read energy intensive, grocery shelves. Today’s farmers makets can deliver mud free food. However if the winter greens or beets are muddy chop them as you need and then soak them over night in water. After you put the greens into their cooking pots use the water in your garden.

- Small growers who come to farmers market could be safer and cleaner.

- Fresh food is more nutritious (and cooking it slowly and at low temperatures preserves nutrition.)

- Preserve your water supply. The water supply gets contaminated by pesticide runoff.
However at the farmer’s market, vendors are confronted by customers who want tasty food and ask questions like "do you use pesticides?" Now no farmer will claim to use pesticides. More surprisingly even the farmers who aren’t rated organic claim their food has no pesticide and that they are working on certification. So if nothing the farmers market informs farmers that customers prefer food free of poisons.

- This site is a good repository for news and research into the health consequences of environmental pollution:

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