Eating In Season

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When I was a kid, my mother would send me to the greengrocers for fruit and vegetables. It was almost all seasonal.

Except for bananas and oranges, just about everything came from the local farms, or at least within the county. and without celebration or fanfare either. No ‘locally grown’ or ‘organic’ labels back then.

This had a number of advantages. Produce was generally fresher. Everything was loose in any case, so you could pick out for yourself what you wanted.

It meant that you got fruit and vegetables at the peak of their ripeness, and probably at their most nutritious, save for picking them from your own garden.

It also mean that you got to look forward to certain items at certain times of the year.

I would look forward to new potatoes, to fresh peas, runner beans. I always looked forward to summer fruits. They were always a little more expensive than regular apples and oranges, but one certainly didn’t hand over a fistful of notes for a small carton of berries as one usually does in the supermarket these days.

TomatoTomatoes, and other salad items were a summer treat too. We simply didn’t have salad in the winter, as their were no perfectly red round and totally tasteless hothouse tomatoes back then.

Actually my parents had a small back yard, and my father would grow runner beans, and tomatoes, for which he would sent me to the local fields with a bucket to get manure. Still, that’s another story for another time…

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Processed Food Facts

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In the United States, 90% of the nation’s food budget is spent on processed food. A recent government report says that over 40% of the food products found in the average supermarket contains trans fats, and there is no safe recommended limit for trans fats, or partially hydrogenated oil.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest estimates that banning trans fats from all foods would save at least 30,000 lives each year in the US alone.

Again, you need to become a keen label reader. The more ingredients on a label that you don’t recognize, the more chance is that it’s some chemical junk. If in doubt, look it up, and check what effects it might have. Isn’t a few minutes taken now, better than losing years later due to illness, that could have been avoided?

Those Favorite Brands

Take Ketchup. It’s all the same isn’t it? That supermarket own brand, tastes almost as good as Heinz, and it’s quite a bit less expensive.

“Mind you, I heard that Hunts Ketchup is full of that High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), and I’m trying to cut back on that, as I’ve read it’s not good to consume, particularly when you’re trying to lose a few pounds, so I’ll avoid that one. On seconds thought, perhaps I’ll stick to Heinz. My mom bought that, and always swore by it – wouldn’t get anything else”.

You’d be wrong.

Heinz Ketchup is made with HFCS, like most other brands.

Why try an organic Ketchup? You might only take a little bit once in a while, but you can bet you’re kids take lashings of it, right? So do them a favor, and get something without the ubiquitous HFCS in.

Check the labels next time you’re in the supermarket, and you’ll be surprised how many ‘good’ brands contain way too much junk!

Green Fish

Do you like fish, but concerned about the environment?

If you’re in the supermarket’s fish section, or at the fishmonger, check out the Blue Ocean Institute FishPhone.

Send a text message to 30644* with the message fish and the name of the fish you’d like to know more about, (for example, ‘fish sardines’) and you’ll get a message back to help you decide what to buy.

*These short codes only work in the US

From The Tap

Yes, at TGFC we’re more than happy to drink water from the tap. It’s much cheaper, and in most Western nations, it’s perfectly fine and safe to drink. It’s got up to 1,000 times less bacteria in than bottled water, and is around 1,000 times less expensive too.

However,we digress.

Down the hatch

Today, we’re talking about beer. If you like a glass or two of beer, then do yourself, and the environment, a favor, and ask for the tap.

Next time you’re in the supermarket, look in the beer aisle. Look at all that packaging! The beer is in those bottles and cans, which are in a cardboard box, or a tray wrapped in plastic.

Think about buying a keg instead, if they’re available. Of course not all beers are sold this way, particularly specialty beers and imports.

However, if you like good beer, see if you have somewhere like The Charleston Beer Exchange near you. They not only sell all those specialty bottles beers, often without much of the plastic wrap, and cardboard packaging, but they also sell beer on tap. Simply buy a glass jug, get it refilled with draft beer, and take it back for a refill when you’re done.

Sesame Burgers & Beer

You’re helping the environment, and you’re arguably helping yourself, in two ways. You’re drinking craft beer, which is much more likely to have less dubious colorants and additives in it, than mass-produced megabrew stuff, and you’re getting to try different beers, and a quality product. Quite often too, as is the case at The Charleston beer Exchange, you’re helping the local economy again if you drink the beers from the local brewery, such as The Charleston Beer Exchange offers from the Coast Brewing Company.

They believe in utilizing alternative means to brew unique beer. They also believe in choice organic and local ingredients. From their biodiesel fired kettle to their energy efficient process, they forge hand crafted batches in their 7 bbl brewhouse.

Think about it next time you’re going to buy some beer! You’ll probably get to enjoy a brew that you didn’t even know that you liked!

Supermarket – NO, Farmers Market – YES

Fruit & Vegetables

While many supermarkets are selling more and more fresh fruit and vegetables, and for many this is the only option, if you can, go to your local farmers market, or even some of the local roadside stalls.

They will have the freshest produce, much of which is locally harvested, often organically, and it’s quite often cheaper (and sometimes considerably cheaper) than the supermarket.

Remember too, that the farmers market will usually only have the produce that is in season right now locally – as it’s going to be at its best for taste and longevity once you get it home.

We have found that produce bought at the farmers market will stay fresh days longer than that bought at the supermarket, which is often the best part of two weeks old by the time you buy it in any case.