It’s an exercise which far too many people are finding themselves doing. Open the refrigerator, take out the bag of veggies or tray of meat, and check whether the contents are involved in the latest food recall.
The newest scandals to hit the news involve romaine lettuce and ground beef. Dozens of people from nearly 20 states have been sickened (one has died) by lettuce originating in Yuma, Arizona contaminated with E. coli. Then a North Carolina food processor recalled more than 35,000 pounds of ground beef for possible contamination with plastic bits.
Do You Know Where Your Food Comes From?
These types of recalls are not uncommon … and they lead to a very uncomfortable question: Do you know where your food comes from?
So much has been written about the adverse effects of artificial ingredients in packaged foods that many health-conscious people are increasingly buying what are termed “one ingredient” foods – fresh, unpackaged or minimally packaged items that can be mixed with other one-ingredient items to make a delicious meal. But what happens when one-ingredient foods are the ones being recalled?
The sad truth is fruits and vegetables are often picked while unripe, shipped long distances, stored for long periods of time, and handled extensively. At every step, the potential increases for carrying diseases and contaminants. Meat and dairy products are just as bad.
An Alternate Choice: Locally-Grown Foods
It’s no wonder people are becoming more interested in locally-grown foods. Not only does buying locally support small farmers, but less energy is required for shipping, handling, and packaging.
Of course, the ultimate “locavore” experience comes from what you grow, raise, or produce yourself. What could be more satisfying than picking a breakfast of fresh strawberries? A salad lunch with your own lettuce and tomatoes? Dinner with green beans or corn?
It can bring great security and comfort to grow or raise your own food, or buy it locally. No more wondering what happened to that romaine lettuce as it traveled 2000 miles to your supermarket. No more wondering about that crunchy bit in your hamburger.
We live on a 20-acre homestead in north Idaho with a goal of food self-sufficiency. Originally we were products of the suburbs, so we had a steep learning curve: Milking cows. Making cheese, butter, and yogurt. Planting, scything, and threshing wheat. Dehorning and castrating calves. Growing a garden. Raising chickens. Canning and preserving.
Followers of my blog, Rural Revolution, have watched our exploits over the years. They’ve seen our victories, they’ve seen our failures, and they’ve watched us build a homestead from scratch.