When Future Husband (referred to from here on as FH) and I visited our tres Bohemian friends in Tuscon last month (she’s a yoga teacher and he spins fire), we were impressed by the many things they do to live more eco-friendly. I’ve known about most of them, but I hadn’t really seen them in action before. We’ve started saving glass jars to reuse instead of buying plastic bags and buying a lot more fresh produce at the market. We’ve started going to the Waco Farmer’s Market, which is a pretty nice place to get fresh produce from local vendors. Our favorite stand is the crepes, where you can get all manner of sweet or savory crepes. I like the nutella and strawberry and the jalepeno popper the best
Our first time was after the Bearathon, and we wandered around in our “Yeah we finished the 5K but aren’t dedicated enough to do the actual half marathon” t-shirts and medals and soaked up compliments from the passerby that we didn’t actually deserve. We have been buying fresh eggs from different vendors in the hopes of finding the perfect delicious egg. We have found some contenders. The coolest part is buying eggs that are different colors. Depending on the breed of chicken, you can get green eggs and deep brown in addition to the white and brown varieties. The yolks are so much more yellow, too. And they taste amazing.
I know next to nothing about the history of how food went from feeding the families it was raised for to how it became the mass-production giant it is now (yes, I’ve seen some documentaries, yes I’m aware there are books) but it always strikes me a little ironic that we make a big deal about patronizing something that used to be, well, the way things were always done.
And I feel bad for the misguided bourgeoisie of my homeland who think that shopping at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods makes them better people because everything they buy says “organic” on it. The FDA does have standards that define the difference between what they call “conventional produce” and “organic produce” but you can still slap the word “Natural” on just about anything and have it mean nothing. For more information, I found this: FDA standards on organic food. Basically, for food to receive the FDA “organic” certification, all components of the food must be grown without synthetic pesticides, chemically treated or derived feed and fertilizer, bioengineered genes (think super corn) or growth hormones. It needs to be grown in an environment that promotes sustainable biodiversity. (Yay, big words! Simply put-you should be able to use the earth again once you’re done growing what you’re growing. Most commercial farming DESTROYS the earth it’s grown in.) And, even more simply, organic food is produced the way farmers back in ye olden days did it. From the earth.
I heard a story on NPR today about the difference between Cage-Free and Free-Range eggs. While these terms tend to be used interchangeably in marketing campaigns, they do not mean the same thing. Cage-Free just means that the chickens are not confined to cages where they sit 7-8 hens deep and live out their existence, but they still spend their days in a building with limited or no access to the outside. It’s still a pretty conventional process-with large barns full of chickens, just without the cages. Free-Range, on the other hand, is where the hens have access to roam outside and graze on the outside. The article hasn’t been posted yet to NPR, but here is more information on the life of chickens who lay what the industry refers to as “conventional eggs.” The most recent push to change this process has come from the fast food industry, of all places. Burger King just announced this week that they are only going to use cage-free pork and eggs in their products from now on.
I’m not being a snob-I used to be one of those people who thought I was doing the earth a service by buying organic. And I’m not wrong, it is better. But it’s also consumer-driven and one has to remember that someone on the other end of the line wants to profit from it. I really like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. They have tasty stuff. I started doing a Snoopy-esque Happy Dance when I found out that 5 Trader Joe’s will be built in Texas in the coming year. FINALLY there will be Trader Joe’s in Texas.
But, I’m going to the farmer’s market to buy from the people who actually raise it now. YAY FOOD!!!