Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Produce. I'm a big fan. A bigger fan of the fruits and veg than I have ever been in my life. It took me a while to figure it out but I have finally began to make the connection between food and well being. I eat well, I feel well. It's that simple. Our garden supplements our kitchen to an extent but we have yet to grow enough to be completely self sustaining. Our tomatoes are better than anything you can buy, I've got squash and greens coming out of my ears, and we grow any herb your heart could ever desire. But what we grow is simply not enough to keep us fed or culinarily interested (I made that term up....go with it.) The grocery store is necessary stop on our path to healthy eating.

A small sampling of tomatoes from our garden.
My local grocery store has a sizable produce department. It is well stocked, has great variety and has a large organic section. But as I'm filling my cart with wholesome food, I find myself pushing right on past the organic. Why? The price. I simply cannot pay five bucks for a teeny package of blueberries when the pint across the aisle rings in at two dollars cheaper. Are organic fruits and vegetables really that much better? Unfortunately for my wallet, the answer to that one is a resounding yes.

Conventionally grown produce is usually picked when unripe and then allowed to ripen en route to the store. This may take several days if not weeks depending upon where it was picked. Say buh-bye to over HALF of the item's nutritional content Half! And, each day the produce is away from the root-system it grew on, it loses precious enzymes, which are need for digestion. Conventionally grown foods are often irradiated to kill pathogens on them which also kills all living plant enzymes and are three times more likely to contain pesticide residues. Radiation and does a body good!

Once again, its pocketbook versus planet. Pro-organic peeps are sympathetic to the cost issue. The Dirty Dozen list specifies the most pesticide laden fruits and vegetables. This way, consumers can go organic for only the pesticide covered apples and peaches, but feel confident in buying conventionally grown eggplants. The list is worth memorizing. It will save you money, ease your mind, and ensure your family is getting the best produce you can afford.

And while I will do my very best to make my produce budget stretch as far as it will go, the best solution for me is to grow it myself. We don't use pesticides or chemical fertilizers. The food travels approximately 30 feet from ground to table, ensuring that all the vitamins, minerals and enzymes that are supposed to be there are still intact. We may not grow all we need yet but we're getting there. And because really, what's better than a tiny, fuzzy apricot fresh off the tree? Not a whole lot my friends. Not a whole lot.



  1. Lovely! I can't wait until I have the space to have my own garden.

  2. Great information! I grow a lot, but like you said, not enough to fill all of the gaps. Keep up the good work!

  3. I'm drooling. I've got the woodstove on, and all my seelings are waiting impatiently to be hardened off...this coming weekend is the traditional "plant your garden" weekend for our zone, but it ain't gonna happen this year. It's bloody cold! Today I found some little 1 cm high kale leaves growing in my garden (reseeded from last year's crop!) and I gobbled some of them up. We can harvest asparagus and rhubarb right now, which is something. I can't imagine eating an apricot off a tree!! Good for you for exploring this topic. Frugal homesteaders are always torn, I think, between what's cheap, and what's good for you. I just buy what I can afford, and serve it with love and good intention. I really believe that can counteract the ill effects of non-organic food (rather than serving it with fear or regret...) It makes me feel better to believe that!

  4. Great post! I am so envious of your gorgeous weather and apricot tree. It has been so cold here and rainy that they only colourful vegetation I see in my backyard are dandelions!