Tomorrow is the last day for strawberry picking! As the season comes to a close, I feel as though I must elaborate on something I have been repeating for a greater part of the season (though, I curiously have not mentioned it here): before the advent of strawberry season here on the farm, I was accustomed to eating strawberries purchased at the grocery store. Large and usually a pale shade of red, the strawberries I had tasted before this month had been quite tart, if they had any flavor at all; in fact, I was under the impression that I didn’t even like strawberries.
Of course, this is partly because the berries that arrive at the grocery store have been shipped from all over the world; that is, where ever they happen to be in season at that point in time. Multiplying outputs and extending the produce’s expiration date are often the first qualities on the growers’ minds, with taste being but an afterthought (if the fruit doesn’t get to where it can be sold, who cares about what it tastes like?). This makes me wonder, though, does growing produce in favor of size and transportability effect the taste, and can it also effect also the produce’s nutrient levels?
Well, according to this article in Scientific American, the University of Texas at Austin’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry studied U.S. Department of Agriculture nutritional data from both 1950 and 1999 and reported that “efforts to breed new varieties of crops that provide greater yield, pest resistance and climate adaptability have allowed crops to grow bigger and more rapidly, but their ability to manufacture or uptake nutrients has not kept pace with their rapid growth.” One might think that the larger the veggie, the more nutrients it will have, but that’s actually not the case. Kind of scary, huh?
Eating locally is something that I have been working on for some time now. We should all join hands in supporting our local farmers; and if that isn’t enough, studies show that it helps us and our families as well. Produce that has been thoughtfully and carefully grown tastes great and is great for you. Everyone wins!
The berries and veggies here at the farm are grown to be picked, washed and enjoyed in Connecticut, where they were grown. And enjoy them we did, while they lasted, but I for one am ready for something new. Bring on the blueberries!