Here at hautemealz.com, we’re fans of fresh, locally grown, organic foods.
We love roadside vegetable stands, food fairs, and the farmer’s market. There are a lot of opinions (some informed, some not so), on organic foods, on how they are more sustainable and better for the environment, how they are more naturally produced and safer from potentially dangerous chemicals and processes, and how they effect the local community…there are many, many arguments. So, why do we stress the importance of eating these foods?
I’d like to say that our reasons come from an enlightened world-view (and that is a part of it) but, the main reason…we like good food!
Good food starts with good ingredients. Produce that was picked yesterday, a few miles away, from a field that never seen synthetic pesticides or fertilizers, have a fresher, more natural flavor than those that don’t. No question.
Okay wait, let’s pause and get one thing out of the way first…yes, buying organic is often more expensive that the alternatives. So…shop smarter. I mean, don’t just throw your money away, clip those coupons, watch for sales, and stock up the freezer when you find a good deal. Learning to can and preserve your own fruits and vegetables is another way of taking advantage of the great food when it’s at a great price.
And really…is it that much more expensive? Yesterday I was comparing, literally, apples to apples. The apples in the organic section we’re $1.99 a pound, the same species if apple, in the “regular” section, was $1.79 a pound. I bought three pounds, and spent a total of sixty cents extra for apples that are safer for me, sustainablly grown, and most importantly to me (just being honest) they just plain taste better! Sixty cents!
Yes, I know it adds up…but let’s say I bought ten produce items that each cost me an extra sixty cents…that means I spent a whopping $6 extra. That’s one less trip through the fast food drive-thru, assuming I go alone! That is what we call a win-win, btw…trading flavorless, plastic-wrapped mystery “food” for something that’s real and delicious.
As a chef and foodie, that last point is, again, huge for me. I’ve found, again and again, that we can buy a smaller amount of food, spend less overall, and get much more satisfaction from the flavors and consistency of locally grown, and organic meat, eggs, and produce.
Let’s face is, few of us need to be eating the portions we are, and this is one case where less is definately more.
Now, if you’re not a hedonistic, narcissistic foodie (and we still love you), here are three more reasons. The depth and breadth of these points are endless, but I’ve tried to distill them down to their essence. You can find plenty more out there on the internet or, better yet, but striking up a conversation with a real-life
farmer at your local Farmer’s Market.
1. What you see is what you get.
Organically raised animals aren’t fed antibiotics, rbGH (bovine human growth hormone (if that line doesn’t freak you out, it should), or other artificials or drugs. These animals aren’t fed genetically modified foods either. Further, animal products certified as organic can not have their genes modified.
If you’ve ever tuned into “Classics Night” on the Sci-Fi channel…you know that this kind of thing is probably a bad idea anyway…
2. Farmers working on organic farms use fewer chemicals. Synthetic pesticides and fertilizers aren’t sprayed on crops or fields, which is good for both your veggies and your protein, as residue from chemicals like DDT, PCBs, dioxin, and others, can concentrate in animal fat. Eating organic protein reduces your exposure to these chemicals.
Grass and water…that’s what I want going into the cow that’s going into my burger.
3. You get to be a good neighbor.
By buying and supporting local farmers of sustainable and organic operations in your local community you also support the the sustainability of your own area. You put people to work in your neighborhood, who are going to put those paychecks back into your neighborhood. You create local jobs, encourage economic growth, and help improve the financial as well as physical health of your community.
So, I encourage you to visit your local farmer’s market, try out a few fruits and veggies from the organic section, and pick up some farm-fresh eggs (you’ll never go back, trust me).
Buy a little less, eat a little less, and see if you don’t enjoy it even more!
PS – for more on the awesomeness of your local farmer’s markets, and where to find them, check out our guest post, To Market, To Market!