I am a member of the Spirited Underdogs team. We get these marvelous week long challenges, and the team is a very active bunch. I love this team!
Because of the energy in this team, I have managed to reach goal. The encouragement, laughter, support, caring and sharing with this bunch is truly life changing.
today I awoke to the latest mini-challenge, which is to eat locally grown fruit and veggies. This is THE BEST CHALLENGE so far!
I am fortunate to live on the beautiful Olympic Peninsula where there are lots of growers. Fresh veggies and fruits abound.
Sure, we have the big chain markets and stores where it is sometimes easier and cheaper to just dash in and pick up what LOOKS like the freshest. If buying in bulk, we can save a bit, too. Any of you who have read my blogs know that I am known to dash around Costco like a maniac and fill up my cart with veggies and fruits from them. They are all presented so beautifully, packed so nicely, and easy to grab.
But sometimes they are not what they seem. I have gotten home with bags of onions, only to find most of them already molding, Spinach decaying in the center of the bag and the tomatoes lasting about two days before the mold starts on them. Unripe, hard fruits that go bad before they actually ripen. Sliced and packaged fruits that were prepared by who knows what hands and what kind of sanitary conditions.
**Not ALL countries have food regulations, folks! You might be horrified if you learned of the watering and fertilization that goes on to grow some of those "fresh" veggies!**
I have fallen in to the habit of ducking in to those chain stores for my fresh produce. FRESH????? Who are we kidding here??
My FRESH artichokes in those stores comes from central California. So does my FRESH spinach, red onions, potatoes from Idaho, melons from Mexico, bananas from South America..........you get my drift.
So just how FRESH is this stuff???? Figure in the picking, packaging, packing again for shipment, travel time, reaching the markets where the big stores go to buy the stuff, again shipping it to the various store locations. Then it gets to sit until a worker at the store can find room for it in their customer areas, and then they have to clean it up a bit and price it. There is no way of knowing how long it has sat in the open air of store, nor how many hands have picked through it. Were ALL those hands CLEAN????
Today, because of that mini challenge, I am changing my stripes. I am teaching a quilt class, and after the class, I will go to my local growers and get some truly fresh spinach, portobello mushrooms, strawberries, red onions and corn on the cob. ALL GROWN RIGHT HERE IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD.
Yes, I may have to spend a few pennies more, and in some areas I will save a whole lot more, than I would if I were to go to the big box guys. (Example, picking my own strawberries right out in the field is MUCH cheaper than buying them in stores, AND it is more FUN, too!) I will NOT pick fresh produce that is only half ripe. I can get my just picked blueberries, and make a wonderful meal out of all this incredibly fresh, vitamin-filled food. I can walk along the back road sides and pick the wild blackberries.......FREE.
Sure, it won't all be perfectly shaped produce, all prettily wrapped in cellophane or plastic. It won't be advertised as "SALE" features. Some of it won't look as pretty. It might even have the dirt from the fields on it. But those are LOCAL fields, folks, from LOCAL people. My friends and neighbors. My fellow countrymen.
I will be supporting AMERICANS, growing AMERICAN food, and paying with AMERICAN money. I will KNOW how the food was grown, and by whom. I will FEEL GOOD about all of this. And my BODY WILL THANK ME with good health as a result.
So this week is going to be a special one, that is for sure. Heck. Maybe it is time we ALL started buying the beautiful local stuff!?