What You Don’t know!
“Quick and easy to read gardening post!”
The Reasons Behind Survival Gardening 1 – 5
Part 2 of 5
There were many reasons behind wanting to grow our own food for the table and if you were to ask ten individual vegetable growers their personal reasons you would probably see responses like these:
- Higher Nutrition on all plants
- Stay healthy, work outside and be active
- Increased vitamins
- Money Saving
- Doing ‘their’ bit for the environment
- Chemical free foods
- Picking their own
- Improving personal health
- Fresher organic food
- Improved taste on product
- Increased variety range
- Reduced contaminations
- All year round Seasonal vegetables, fruits and herbs
- Less wasted product
- Having a grocers in your back garden
- Satisfaction and gratification of achievement
- NOT Using the supermarkets!
- You are in control of what lands on your plate!
These are the usual responses you hear from those who grow their own and l agree with them all and some, but these are your main reasons. Of these listed above a few centre on a specific area [the coloured entries] and that is/are the supermarkets.
I read an article a few years ago about what we don’t know with regards the supermarkets and their handling of our fruits and vegetables. Plus it is not just the supermarkets, but greengrocers in general and the bigger they get the more problems can arise. But this article made me think hard and so from that point on, l continued to read articles on the topic until l became convinced, that growing our own was the ONLY way forward.
Today’s episode may seem redundant almost moot in the current climate – but in part 3, you’ll understand the overall importance of this episode – part 2. However and more so now and especially in this current uncertain climate – there are issues that we as consumers would never know and for some if not many they probably might not even care.
In the usual ordinary times of green grocery shopping most travel in, select a cart and then wheel it around the aisles taking what they want – select, pick up, pay and leave …oh no wait a moment … select, pick up, don’t like, put back, select, pick up, smell, don’t like, sneeze, select and pick up, put back … eventually, they have all their green groceries and then they pay, bag and leave – get home and put into the fridge. Some might wash the produce first.
You see where l am going with this right? Of course you do …..shoppers and buyers alike we all are, we are all guilty to one degree or another without even thinking about it.
If you move away from that scenario and then look closely at the supermarkets themselves you might be further surprised about some of the tricks of the trade they adopt in order to coax us into to buy even more.
This year especially in the UK [as an island] we are going to really experience a huge shuffle up with supermarkets, grocers and food availability. Much of this l will cover in the next episode … however, l do see big changes in the way we as shoppers view buying fruits and vegetables in our futures.
What You Don’t Know!
When l was younger and growing up in the UK as a teenager, l used to remember how much preparation went into the vegetables that left the farms to go to the greengrocers – be this greengrocers, supermarkets or even farmer’s markets. The product was usually cleaned for starters, it was graded and it was harvested once it had developed … and a whole load of other stuff was performed on it before it was available for sale…. Back then also, we grew and produced a lot more of our own produce and equally as consumers we ate what was in season.
I don’t really remember many ‘food recalls’ because of contamination threats to the vegetables back in the early 80’s and yet, this can happen and of course, life and the times change, sometimes quicker than natural seasons …of course when l was a kid l remember we had ‘actual seasons!’
These days produce comes to our little island from thousands of miles away and we as consumers with requirements of our own and therefore creating a demand can enjoy from a huge variety of fruits and vegetables and herbs – many of which are not in season for us or can’t be grown in our environments – but no worries … because our demand for them ensures that they travel for months in cold storage to get to us here … fresh!
These days in a world that enjoys one season apparently, local food produce seemingly is shipped everywhere else except actually locally, but these days the worlds are our oysters!
Did you know?
Here’s 12 pointers you may not have known!
- 1] – That the shopping carts we use, the ‘trolleys’, are rarely properly washed and sanitized? The average shopping trolley can at times hold more bacteria than your pets bottom!
- 2] – Most buyers of fresh vegetables and fruits don’t actually wash their produce when they get home – they simply put them away in stores or the fridge until required.
- 3] – Of course with the Covid-19 as a world visitor everyone is correctly advising the cleaning of vegetables – although there is no concrete proof that the disease lives on the product, many a time it is adviseable to thoroughly wash product because of the dirt and fresh chemical applications that product is subjected to before sales and packaging. Most vegetables are NO longer washed before leaving for their final destination and to assume it is clean … well say no more!
- 4] – When selecting your fruits and vegetables, it pays to go further into the display [especially of those not in plastic coverings], as the front of the display is the most handled by other buyers or selectors. Supermarket staff are trained to place the fresher products at the bottom so as to sell out of the older more handled produce first, so it is not wasted.
- 5] – Typical storage times for some produce can be as long as a year – in the case of apples, sometimes these are in cold stores for 6 to 12 months which is not uncommon.
- 6] – Carrots which can be stored safely outside or even in the ground at home, are not new to being kept in stores for anywhere between 2 – 7 months. The green foliage of carrots is more perishable and can fade and die in a matter of days.
- 7] – Some vegetables typically like, potatoes, tomatoes, lettuce and brassicas can be in cold storage for much longer periods than many buyers might know.
- 8] – Not all staff at the stores and shops follow a correct code of hygiene – but equally many of your fellow shoppers are exactly the same. I have seen kids pick their noses in shops and then handle fruit! Their parents completely oblivious!
- 9] – It pays to check all vegetables and fruit thoroughly for signs of deterioration and rot – because that is something that is there. Perhaps you, like us, have bought supermarket produce and literally a couple of days later it has gone off? Or you have ordered online and once attended to your delivery, a couple of days later – produce is going off? Why is that? Well re-read 4]. Supermarkets will inform the buyer that it is the way THEY handle their produce when at home – but it is usually long cold storage, actual product age and rotation that is one of the leading causes to a buyers fruit and vegetables going off quicker when at home.
- 10] – You might be surprised to learn that some foods go through a form of reconditioning or clean up repair to make them look good again and fit for purchase so as to not simply hit the food waste bins. It’s like second hand or older food being made to look good again.
- 11] – Pre-washed ‘vegetables’ are not always washed to a standard of ready to eat. I remember once many years ago when working with a vegetable grocers on ‘work experience’, just how dirty the vegetables were – so it pays to wash everything even from a farmer’s market. Also some fruit and vegetables have preparation pesticides and chemical rinses on them – so it pays to wash. Finally, it pays to wash even ‘pre-washed’ because of the at times local residents that might be present – aka – creepy or sluggy crawlies!’
- 12 – For me growing my own, means chemical free, environmentally friendly and organic – BUT, that doesn’t always mean organic product from the shops is your version of organic, but more of a commercial organic! Many a time organic product is subjected to chemical washes, screenings and gradings.
So there we go folks …. 12 points YOU may not have known concerning fruits and vegetables in your stores and whilst YES, currently there are more practices being carried out it still pays to know these facts and to wash your produce.
For Suze and l, and way long before our climate today, we knew a lot of these things, these practices and they helped to motivate and encourage us along to growing our own. In part 3, l will explore some of the huge benefits and reasons that now, quite possibly more so than ever before in our lives, that growing our own in what ever capacity we can – would work to our overall advantage and that we shouldn’t be only reliant upon the supermarkets.
Anyway, until then, thanks for reading
Catch you in part 3.
Thanks for reading – Rory