Friday, 13 July 2012

Being a globavore is a guilty pleasure




Yesterday, Scott and I went to Costco specifically to pick up some freestone peaches from California, which are awesome. I regularly buy certain kinds of produce at Costco because it's better than what we can get here, and it's less expensive.

I do not feel, in anyway, guilty about NOT always buying homegrown even if it's in season.

That's because I used to work in the tender fruit industry, in St. Catharines, as a fruit inspector. For two years, I graded cherries and peaches at canning and freezing facilities. It was great job and I got to know lots of hardworking farmers who would lineup at my station and allow me, a wet-behind-the-ears university student, to determine how much they would get for their crops. Sometimes, sadly, if one worm was found in a cherry, they would be sent home and their entire day's work was ruined. Once I got a farmer so steamed that he dumped his entire load of cherries in the cannery's orchard.

Oops. Bad, bad little worm.

Fruit inspectors do not exist anymore in Ontario, processing facilities are expected to self-regulate and we all know how that goes.

Anyway, back to my point, and I do have one.

You should not feel guilty about buying from other countries because, at least in this province, the best fresh produce is shipped offshore or cooked up by canneries. The very best peaches I ever had, called Baby Gold, never make it onto a grocery shelf because they are reserved to make baby food.

Gerber's grind up the peaches pits and all.

Most of the sour cherry crop goes to Japan where people are crazy about sour cherries and are willing to pay high prices for them. Here, if we are lucky, we can find a bucket of frozen cherries in a supermarket. But not much of the crop stays here.

The Costco peaches are equally as good as the ones I remember from my inspecting days. The ones in the supermarket are small, almost pruny versions, and most cling to the pit making it impossible to cut them up.

I also want to say that we do support our local farmers. Each week, we go to the Ottawa Farmer's Market and buy what's in season. So you might say I dabble in locavorism, but I'm really a globavore.

And proud of it.

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