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Happy-Gourmand

Produce that won't let you down

Finding good produce

Have you ever bought fresh fruits or vegetables that let you down?

I recently had some strawberries at a restaurant as part of a dessert. If I had been blindfolded, I would not have known what they were.

The utter lack of taste that I experienced was in total contrast to the plump, intensely red outer appearance. Was I to expect that good flavours and good looks were too good to be true? I felt like I was eating a cardboard cut-out of the real fruit.

Summer is the season for fruit, right? Imagine my disappointment when, again this past week, I had a similar experience.

It was a hot day, and I thought, what better thing to do than to have a piece of watermelon and spit the seeds off the deck like we did when I was a kid? (I am sure that was how generations of kids learned to spit.)

I figured the reason both the strawberries and the watermelon didn’t taste like anything, was because of the produce equivalent of a big box store: mass production. But then I wondered, with many new varieties of produce like watermelons being seedless, just how do they produce masses of any kind of produce?

This question gnawed at my brain. While watching our weekly date night movie with my hubby, I suddenly realized I knew the answer. (If you’ve seen any of the Jurassic Park movies, you’ll know the answer too. It’s genetics.)

I am not against advancing, but I do think we should look before we leap. I know that some seedless fruits, like navel oranges, naturally developed to propagate without seeds so that they stay consistent instead of constantly mutating. Orchardists often graft trees to keep their crop going year over year.

With watermelons, it is more complicated. But the short answer for getting seedless watermelons is genetic manipulation (Yes, just like those Jurassic dinosaurs).

I am not saying we will wake up to killer zombie watermelons, but well, those stories don’t seem to end well, do they?

Mother Nature seems to be willing to take only so much when it comes to messing with things.

You may not be a garden geek like me, using heirloom seeds and loving the wild plants that come up in the garden after the birds have dropped them or the compost that sprouted them but here is another good reason to support those local farmers that grow food locally. Their produce is fresher and it will have local flavours.

When we lived in Quebec, we knew a lady who grew blueberries. Because she needed to be able to make a good living, she sold all her produce to the highest bidder. The problem was, the highest bidder was in the good old USA.

So, when the blueberry farmer went to get groceries in her local Quebec/Canada food chain, she was faced with buying American blueberries. Yes, the USA company buys from her because her blueberries are superior quality and it sells its American-grown blueberries to the Canadian food chain.

If we are willing to eat food that has been manufactured, manipulated or even just handled a lot over long distances, then we need to be prepared for the consequences. There are more ways to be let down when our food is handled by more people.

I, for one, shall be showing my respect for the farmers and for Mother Nature, by doing my best to eat foods in season, from as close to home as possible.

After all, I like spitting watermelon seeds.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.



More Happy Gourmand articles

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About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."

 

E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com

 



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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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