There are things we grow that are not the best looking when compared to local conventional farms and definitely not the Industrial Food Complex. So when we take our heirloom tomatoes to the market we have to really sell them (convince the consumer that the taste is better then the look).
Then something magical happens, we get a repeat customer that by-pass all the beautiful looking, perfectly round, no blemish tomatoes and stops at the stand to not only buy ours but proceed to tell us how wonderful the tomato tasted. I cannot help but say, “Thank you,” and then tell them, “That is the taste your grandparents had when they were growing up”.
Sometimes, I get a quizzical look so I will explain genetic engineering and chemical usage and adulterations, which conspired to make the common tomato transportable and last longer. I will explain how they pick green tomatoes to ship across the country and while in transit spray the tomatoes with ethylene to turn them from green to red. Notice I did not say ripen them. I said it turns the tomato from green to red. Pick one of those tomatoes up and give it a gentle squeeze, oh heck squeeze hard. You will not hurt it. Pick up a tomato out of your garden and try the same thing. You will see, feel and smell the difference. Then there are the trace amounts of ethylene that stay on the tomato and you got a green hard sphere that is perfectly red.
I know I should not, but I do take it personally when I hear how ugly the tomato looks and the person does not stay long enough for me to sell the tomatoe's virtues. I will watch the consumer go over to a huckster and by the perfect looking tomato they can get their hands on. Some one said, “There is no accounting for taste,” at the time I thought it was because the pink house was painted pink. However, then again the same applies to the human palette.
We just keep hoping that more people learn so we can make enough money to cover our expenses. We will still treat the land as the precious resource it is and relish our chance to nurture it back to health and make a little dent in reversing the Industrial Food Complex (IFC) deplorable use of all of our scarce resources.
I know all that has been written about the egg recall, the one thing that struck me was a picture I saw. I wanted to use the photograph, that a news agency published, of the man behind the egg farms . There he was coming out of his office with his crisp white shirt, smartly tied necktie, sharp lines on his pants, shinny shoes and clean hands and fingernails. Then I wanted to put a picture of myself or any other local farmer against his. The caption would capture what I have been writing about the IFC for years. From whom would you want to buy your food? The man in the suit or the man or woman holding food raised for the family and community.
In the mean time we will keep growing healthy, organic fruits, vegetables, eggs and maybe chicken meat.
Buy Local: You are the ones that can make a difference