Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Squeamish Farmers

There was an interesting article in Slate ("Organic Panic") a few weeks back on how the Obamas vegetable garden makes some conventional farmers squeamish. Apparently Michelle Obama's statements supporting local food and organic farming are a little too tough for some big growers to handle. My favorite quote in the article is this:
"It's a charming idea and everything, but it's not practical," says Xavier Equihua, who represents the Chilean Exporters Association as well as the Chilean Avocado Committee. The main problem, he says, is that local food is seasonal. For example, avocadoes grow in California during the summer months. Same with grapes. "What happens if you want some grapes during the month of December?" says Equihua. "What are you going to do? Not eat grapes?"
Yes, it is quite a problem that local food is seasonal. That's one of the main reasons I eat local food! I like being more in touch with the seasons and what's available when--not to mention that local food eaten in season tastes a lot better. I love asparagus and would love to eat it all the time. But it tastes so much better in May and June that I am willing to hold off and just eat as much as I can during that two month period.

What happens if you want to eat grapes in December? How about you DON'T eat grapes? How hard is this? There are lots of other foods that are in season then that you could eat. Oranges, for example. Maybe we shouldn't be able to have everything that we want whenever we want it. The ability to eat grapes year round means that we don't know when grapes are in season anymore. Same with avocadoes. Nor do we really know where avocadoes come from, where they grow well, because the world is at our fingertips in the seasonless grocery store. Eating seaonally is one of the easiest ways to get in touch with nature--you don't even have to drive out to a state park or lake to do so. Just open the fridge.

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