Sunday, July 05, 2015

Eating Olives from Tunisia

Eating Olives from Tunisia.

I was calculating the food miles on my tofu burger minus the carbon foot print  of my organic shade-grown fair-trade cup of coffee, and I began to suffer indigestion.

Food was getting too complicated. Labels! People want to put labels on food. I am sick of labels. I don't read labels.

I shop locally, but not because it's "good" and not because I am supporting any cause. I shop locally because I don't like driving too far. Plus I have friends at the store. I buy food if it tastes good and if it doesn't cost too much.

I don't worry about stuff. I eat what I like to eat.

I eat olives from Tunisia and drink coffee from Guatemala. I embrace the world of food. Food from all over the earth.

Eat globally.  I am a global foodist. Farmers in Ohio, farmers in Pakistan, farmers right down the road from where I live -- all good to me. I am grateful to the people who do this kind of work, wherever they live.

Eat globally. Small farms are good. Big farms are good. Family-owned farms are good. Corporate farms are good. Ancient time-honored traditions are good. The latest in modern technology is good.

Eat globally. It's good to visit farms all over the the earth. Visit the coffee farms in Ethiopia and the banana plantations in Costa Rica. 

Locally-owned organic farms that sell at the farmers market are good. Large corporations that grow crops in Third World countries under contract for Wal-Mart are good.

Farmers give us food and we thank them. Be a farmer's friend, wherever he may live and however he may work.

People often feel guilty, that they shouldn't be eating certain foods. Guilt has a limited value. If we eat the food we enjoy with the people we enjoy, then we're halfway to paradise.

Eat globally. Eat with your family, Eat with your friends. Buy the food that you like to eat and enjoy yourself.

People can get awfully judgmental and downright religious when it comes to food and farming. There's too many rules. Put the rule book down, eat freely and grow freely.

Like fast food. People say fast food is bad, well, duh, stop eating so fast. Don't be blaming somebody else if you've been gulping it down at a gallop.

If you're feeling hungry, you might just need a glass of water. And if you're feeling irritable, you might just need a banana.

Bring snacks to every meeting. People feel more agreeable if they have a bowl of popcorn to munch on.

When the plumber or the gardener comes to work at your house, offer them a glass of lemonade and a cookie. They will love you, work harder and prefer you over other customers and all it cost you is a snack.

Offer your food to share with friends and strangers, there's plenty for everybody.

We conclude this food and farm rant with three rules  -- and only three rules.

1. Don't eat by yourself.
2. Don't eat too fast.
3. Don't eat in your car.

Avocado News. A friend of mine, his family owns a good-sized avocado orchard in San Diego County. They are getting hammered by the drought and the enormous water bills. The salt content of their  current piped in supply is too high. Avocado trees are not tolerant of salt, at all.
The family decided to invest over $300,000 in a new well on the property, plus a reservoir to store the well water, plus a reverse osmosis filter system to get out the salt, plus a solar array to power the pumps.

"If it works," my friend said, "our orchard will be independent of outside sources."   

If it works. This is a $300,000 gamble to save the family orchard. "Otherwise we walk away and let the bank take it back," my friend said.

I spoke with Tim Spann, who does research for the California Avocado Commission. He said investments of this kind -- in better wells and smarter irrigation systems -- can reduce water use quite a bit, but smaller growers often don't have the resources to make these improvements and there is no government program to aid avocado growers.

Avocado trees are shallow-rooted and are native to the cloud forests of Central America. They are not built for the California climate. The avocado industry clusters in coastal areas from San Diego to Santa Barbara and benefits form the marine-climate affect of frequent fogs and June gloom.... but they still need a lot of irrigation water.

In contrast, the California climate makes an amiable host to Mediterranean fruit crops -- the olive, the grape, the fig, and the citrus -- crops that can take strong sun and scant rain.

In Santa Barbara, Laurie has table grapes on a thirty-foot long trellis growing on vines long established many years now --  thick vines and strong, deep roots. The vines are not getting any water during this drought and yet are throwing out a bumper crop of very sweet and tasty grapes.

That's the farm news.
God Bless America. The Stars and Stripes Forever. What a country!

All my best to you and your family on this holiday weekend. 

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