Let's Talk About Fresh
I have been so lucky to be part of a fruit and vegetable co-op for so long. Essentially, the farmers market is brought right to my home.
Even so, I still love venturing to farmer’s markets from time to time to enjoy the vibe and pick up bits and bobs. Perhaps my favourite and most rewarding source of produce though, is enjoying the fruits of our own balcony-garden. We have grown our fair share of fresh herbs, salad leaves and have also been fortunate enough to even harvest some tomatoes!
While many people's schedules or living situations don’t allow for this kind of super fresh eating, I am convinced that it is one of the best ways to go. Comparing against traditional store purchased produce, these are my thoughts:
1. It’s cheaper: There are lots of costs associated with getting fresh produce to the supermarket shelves. These include fuel, transportation, storage and labour. When the intermediary steps (by getting produce directly rather than from a shop) are cut out, we lessen the bundled costs! Further, with fresh direct produce, the shelf life is much longer, which means you don't waste as much money throwing away food that has gone bad in just a couple days!
2. It’s healthier: No matter how many times I read it, I am always surprised at how quickly fresh produce loses its nutrient value after harvest. Vegetables can lose 15-55% of vitamin C, for example, within a week of harvesting. Some spinach can lose 90% within the first 24 hours after harvest!
3. It leaves a smaller environmental footprint: As mentioned above, purchasing direct from the farmers means that we cut down on transportation (fuel) and storage (electricity) costs. Also, this means that farmers can simply bring their wares to the market in large boxes for direct distribution to their end consumers, rather than packaging their produce into the individual plastic punnets required to protect the produce over long journeys.
4. You are able to respect and honour the work of local farmers: When we purchase direct from the farmers, we get to participate actively in their most recent harvest. Sometimes, things aren’t in season, so we can't order them. The goodness about eating what's fresh and in season- it saves us having to eat 6-month old apples that have been stored in cold rooms. Over time, you start to recognise the seasonality of produce and adjust your cooking and eating to flow with the natural flow of the seasons. Your pocket will also thank you because you’ll be purchasing produce that is growing in abundance- which makes it waaay cheaper!
5. It tastes better: Eating produce that is in season always means that you are eating that fruit or vegetable at its optimal growing time. It’ll be tasty, bountiful, and your tastebuds will be having a ball!
So what do you think guys? How do you think your produce rates against fresh in-season fruits and veggies? Could you perhaps do better?