Thursday, June 30, 2011

Local food and thanks to farmers

Fresh garlic needing to be cleaned
I've been cleaning a lot of garlic, potatoes, and onions lately.

Much is destined for fresh use in the next couple of weeks, rather than storage, but preparing vegetables for either requires work - removing dirt, extra foliage and roots, sorting out for drying, taking all of the clippings out to the compost pile, etc.

I'm quite certain I didn't appreciate the effort required in producing a bag of onions in the grocery store before I started growing them myself.

Maybe they bounce down a river of clean water in industrial agriculture, but someone still needs to trim their roots and stems and remove their tops (maybe this is a subject for a web search-- Hmm... check out this article about onion cleaning procedures on a small farm).

Fresh onions are totally delicious, of course, being juicy and succulent when cooked.  Quite a different vegetable than the cured ones for long-term storage.  Ditto with garlic.  And fresh potatoes are exceptionally tasty, too.  But, it's worth considering what it takes to have a bag of red potatoes at the grocery perfectly cleaned and ready to take home. 

This is about as big as my carrots ever get.
I'm not complaining, really, but am glad for the experiences which remind me how fresh food, grown locally (or far away), ultimately depends on the folks who grow, harvest, clean, and package fruits and vegetables.

And whether we buy at a tailgate market or at a supermarket, it's well worth thinking about who grew those vegetables and how, and what it took for you to be able to put them in your shopping basket.

Cleaning a couple of bushels of small onions has reminded me to be (more) grateful for folks who grow our food.

(Here were some previous thoughts along the same subject, but focusing on greens).

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