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Redefining Fresh

 
A guest post by author Michael Nolan

The aisle at the supermarket is marked with signs proclaiming their "Fresh Produce". In their case, fresh means tomatoes that were picked green and shipped in from Mexico after three days in the gas chamber with ethylene (C2H4) a colorless, flammable gas that just so happens to be a petroleum derivative.

The popular sub sandwich chain wants us to "Eat Fresh" with shredded iceberg lettuce that arrives at the store in sealed bags. How fresh can that be? I even went to a local "Farm Fresh" farm stand recently where they were selling fresh bananas. In Alabama. In April. Am I the only one around here who knows that we can't grow bananas in Alabama?

The time has come to redefine "fresh". To understand that the term is being abused and bastardized beyond recognition is a good starting point but the only real way to ensure that you and your family are getting real fresh food is to grow it yourself or to personally know the people who are. Growing your own food isn't nearly the all-encompassing time hog that some would have you believe, nor does it have to break the bank though I will admit to spending far more on gardening over the years than I ever should have.

Putting an end to food scares

Ever notice that E. coli thing that pops up periodically? You can't buy onions. Or spinach. Tomatoes, peppers, you name it. In more than 30 years of growing my own food I have yet to experience E. coli or other diseases in my fresh food. I have never heard of someone who grows their own fresh produce dealing with it either.

If you've ever griped over the fact that you just can't buy a decent tomato anymore then you are a perfect candidate for growing your own. It isn't complicated, doesn't take much time or effort and you can even do it if all you have to work with is a couple of square feet on a balcony. What's more, the tomatoes you grow yourself will not be the mealy, flavorless lumps of nothing that you'd be wasting your hard earned cash for in the supermarket.

Start small, with just a couple of plants that you know you enjoy. Tomatoes are a popular starter (and the most popular garden plant grown in the US), but you could even start with a container of herbs or colorful salad greens that will produce over and over throughout the season.

When it comes to fresh food, start taking responsibility for you and your family and stop taking their word for it. Their job is to sell you what they have. Your job is to stop buying the lies.

Michael Nolan, The Garden Rockstar is an author, blogger and speaker on gardening, sustainability, food ethics and homesteading. He is currently in the process of writing a new guest post on a different site for each day in May. To follow his progress, visit MyEarthGarden.com.
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