Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Organic foods

You would think with the price of food going up every day and the number of people who are eating organic, that the corporate farms would see the trend and start producing more healthy, wholesome foods. Instead "organic" is being treated as a niche market that they can charge a premium for.

I grew up organic without even knowing what that meant. We had a huge garden (about 3/4 of an acre) where we grew almost all of the vegetables we ate, chickens for eggs and meat, a few pigs, a couple of cows, and 3 apple trees. My grandmother had about 1/4 acre in strawberries and a family friend had a milk cow.

We didn't use alot of chemical fertilizers in the garden. That was what the cow and pigs were for. We traded eggs for milk every week, and my grandmother was more than happy to share the strawberries with us since we gave her the feathers from the chickens to make pillows and featherbeds.

We would go to town every couple of weeks to deposit my Dad's paycheck and do what little shopping that needed to be done. Usually it was just coffee, cereal, sugar, flour, and maybe some sodas. The rest of the time we spent doing chores and homework.

We would spend a lot of time in the summer canning the garden. My brother and I still had to get up every morning around 7 and pick the garden every day. My dad really liked green beans so we usually had 8 40 foot rows. That comes out to about 4 bushels of green beans every 3 days or so. We tried to get everything that needed picking done by noon, before it got too hot. Then we would spend the afternoon snapping, shelling, washing, peeling, cutting, or whatever it was that was needed for what we had picked that day. Then while my brother was taking care of the livestock, I would be helping my mother can everything.

Now granted, it was a lot of work, but at least we knew what was in our food. We didn't have to wash off any residual pesticides, or waxy preservatives before we ate it. We didn't have to worry about growth hormones or antibiotics in the meat or milk, we could eat a soft boiled egg with worry about salmonella. And the best part was that a year's worth of food cost us a few bags of livestock feed and some seeds.

Organic food would have been laughed about at my house. "Who would spend twice as much to buy food that we grow ourselves?"

I guess the laugh was on us.

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