The other day we were discussing where our food comes from with my Girl Scout troop. I decided to look at a few items in my kitchen. There was a kiwi from Italy, some strawberries from California, and a bag of carrots from Israel??!!
I couldn’t believe the carrots. The kiwi seemed a bit odd too, but what really through me off were the carrots. There are plenty of areas in this country where carrots can be grown pretty much year-round. So why then do we have to import them from a place halfway around the globe??
Obviously there must be a cost factor that makes sense for the vegetable buyer at my local grocery store, but when I stopped to think about it, how could it make sense? By time they pick the carrots, put them in bags, then boxes then ship them here —how could it cost less, and when was that carrot picked?
Last week here on Farmers’ Almanac’s web site we asked if you tried to buy or grow your vegetables locally. Many of you said you grew your own and frequented farmers markets when you could. The hard part of course is for areas that have very cold winters, as that makes growing food tough. Thus the need to buy produce from your grocery store, but why do they import vegetables from such far away places?
After this little exploration of my kitchen, I went to the grocery store with the goal to only buy vegetables grown in the USA. It was a little tough. I live in New Jersey so the gardening season is just beginning. Soon there will be some produce available at my grocery store that’s grown locally. I also bought a share in a local CSA and this week is my first pick up. I’m so excited to experiment with very locally grown food.
Sometimes it’s hard to figure out what you can do when you want to eat healthy, not break the budget, and not buy produce that gets shipped from far off places. I do know that I’m going to be paying attention a lot more to where my carrots and other food come from and will try to keep my purchases to locally grown food in the summer and USA grown produce in the winter.
What do you do? Did you ever really look at the produce you have in your kitchen and where it came from?