Visduh

Is the farm-to-table movement over?

While I don't frequent farmers markets, even though we have the oldest one in the county here in Vista, I'm seeing that the prices aren't all that attractive, the quality is often low, and freshness just isn't there. So, I've come to suspect that a lot of those "growers" don't grow it locally much of the time, but just buy it for resale. Oh, I know they swear it is locally grown, but the enforcement is nearly nil. There are some terms today that have interesting meanings. "Natural" was a term that came out of the 60's or earlier that meant whatever the product was, it received minimal or no processing before you bought it. But somewhere along the line, the sugar industry managed to get refined white sugar classified as "natural", because it wasn't created by a chemical process. But it is heavily processed and most highly refined, hardly the sort of thing you would think of as a natural product. Hence, sweetened products of any kind can claim to be "natural" even if they are heavily loaded with sugar. There's now a "natural" peanut butter that doesn't separate but has no hydrogenated fats (which have long been used to keep the stuff from separating) or sugars. How did they do that? Well, palm oil is added. But, but . . . wasn't "natural" supposed to mean pure while you were at it? Um, sort of, but it was implied rather than a requirement. Palm oil is another product that gets processed and refined, and is highly saturated. Does that make it a better choice than the artificial stuff? It's for the buyer to judge. If you want "natural" peanut butter that doesn't separate, it's your ticket. I'd rather stir it and then keep in the refrigerator. That term "natural" in food labeling today is meaningless. As to "organic", that seems principally a way to charge more for generally indistinguishable produce. When some real nutrition research tells me that organic is really better, then I'll consider it. BTW, the fruits and vegetables we raise here in Vista are almost all organic, 'cause we don't want to spend the money on pesticides, and don't need no stinking chemical fertilizers.
— February 7, 2016 2:20 p.m.

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