Strawberries with Needles, or Chemicals?

Already Contaminated?

I don’t mean to kick a strawberry farmer when he’s down, but the needle scandal makes me wonder…what if all the chemicals used to grow Australian strawberries were as obvious as needles? Now is the time to eat strawberries – conventional or organic – so they don’t go to waste & the farmers can stay in business, but I just have to raise the point..most of our strawberries have always been contaminated…just in a less spiky-scary way.

There are loads of harmful things hidden in the food we eat. Aside from the current scandal, what about the things we can’t see, feel or taste?  At least you can tell if there’s a needle in something, not so easy to detect & avoid a chemical residue. I love strawberries, I buy organic when they are in season / I can afford them / I find a bargain, though sometimes I just buy the cheap, chemically grown variety & I don’t feel really great about eating them or feeding them to the kids. Not meaning to bag strawberries – I just want to raise a point now with all the needle noise, what about the chemicals that are already contaminating Aussie strawberries? How long will we just accept these for our kids? A quick rinse under the tap does not make a chemical-free berry! Strawberries are right at the top of the dirty dozen listproduce with the highest levels of chemical residue. They are difficult / expensive to grow organically, hence they will cost more when grown naturally / properly. Needles may turn out to be the least of our worries!

Mountains of Waste!

I think a lot of people who are used to cheap food become really desensitised to the wastage factor “who cares if the kids don’t eat the whole pile of mac & cheese we just served up for dinner, the packet only cost us $3.50 & all we had to do was shove it in the microwave with some water. If they won’t eat it, just scrape it into the bin & who cares”.

ARRGHHH!! Not enough care factor goes into food manufacturing, shopping, prepping…not enough money is invested in quality food & as a result food is just not valued the way it should be…& the kid’s growing bodies are also undervalued. If you put a lot of thought into feeding the family well, pay good money for quality fresh produce that’s been grown naturally, & spend time in the kitchen preparing it, you’re not gonna be happy to see it wasted & your kids won’t grow up thinking it’s ok to just chuck food out.  Our great-grandparents would roll in their graves if they knew how many kgs’s of strawberries were being dumped because some loony-tune has stuck needles into a few punnets & everyone is freaking out. Wasting them is craziness, everyone needs to just chill out & chop them up!

Most of the strawberries (& other fruit & veg) grown in Australia ARE contaminated, with chemical residues we can’t detect. This is a bigger issue than needles! Consumers are conditioned by supermarkets & food / agricultural giants to think that food should be dirt cheap & last for months / years on a shelf.

I’m all for saving money & finding a bargain, but I also appreciate (& will pay for) food that has been grown or made naturally, without the use of chemicals. I wish that was the case across the board, so I try to do my bit & support organic growers & smaller manufacturers whenever possible – that is the only way to get to a chemical-free future, if we support organic farmers & artisan food producers. If there were no $2 punnets of strawberries (or $3.50 mac & cheese packets), you’d just pay what it really should cost for them, the real cost of real food. Strawberries are a difficult & fragile thing to grow, chemicals are the cheapest & easiest way to increase yield / profit / decrease labour costs…but what is the cost to our health when we accept this type of food production? Organic & artisan produced food is more expensive, yes – but you’ve got to ask yourself…would you rather cheap, industrial, mass-produced, contaminated food to feed your family, or try to get the uncontaminated wherever you can, if at a higher price?

We all need to do our bit here – let’s get the strawberry farmers through this crisis (just buy them regardless), but let them know that in future, we’d prefer organically grown. 

Try this tasty Strawberry Smoothie recipe!

A Day In The Life of a goodMix Patchy…

buy organic food online

3.30am – 4.30am

Alarm goes off – Rise & Shine!

You’re up before the sun, bleary-eyed & packing the esky with your cold tasters (prepared the night before) & coconut yoghurt, loading it into the car (where your market kit is already packed from the day before. The early commute at least has no traffic – you grab some ice on the way & the petrol station guy knows you from the time before, & the time before.

4.15am-5:00am

Arrive at markets.

You drive in, unload everything from the vehicle in the almost dark & start the set up process. Gazebo, tables, cloths, stock, signs…getting everything into place & looking pretty…in approx 40mins, you have yourself a fully functional, temporary ‘shop’ with sampling station. Dawn is breaking – phew. It’s coffee time!!

5.30am

The earliest shoppers are starting to wander in, empty trolleys dragging behind them. You walk back to your stall, sipping your locally roasted coffee, chatting to your fellow stallholders along the way & maybe grabbing breakfast & a few bits n pieces as you go, before the rush hits.

It’s slow for another half hour or so –  just a few regulars…these shoppers know what they want & they stock up & get out quickly – you’re lucky if you’re on their list.

6.15am

The early crowd is upon you, you greet the familiar faces, catch up on their week & exchange goods for cash.

7:00am-12:00pm

It builds from here until the sun is high above you, your till is overflowing with notes, & your tables & esky are almost empty. That’s on a good day. A bad day might mean – your till looks exactly the same as when you arrived, your tent is soaked, some of your stock is ruined, your shoes, socks & even your undies are soggy…but you’re still having a laugh with your neighbours, you’ve got your weekly fresh groceries (cheaper & fresher than you could buy anywhere else), & you are thankful that you can at least pack your bags at the end of the day & bring your stock back to sell at the next market. Some aren’t so lucky – the fresh produce has to go. You feel sorry for the farmers & buy heaps. Smoothies, pesto, guacamole, freeze things, cook things…give some away…can’t miss the rainy day specials!

12:00pm

Pack up time!

Organise the fresh purchases, pack them away carefully into your half empty stock boxes, cold things into the esky & start dismantling the temporary shop, loading the vehicle with everything, much less neatly than it was before – in your rush to get home. You get home, & the day is not done yet – the stock goes away, counted & ready for next market, the groceries into the fridge, the till counted & recorded. You did ok…a days work done, made a profit, got your shopping done, stocked the fridge…& it’s still only lunchtime.

1:00pm

…finally, relax – time to have a rest!

Or clean the house, take the kids to footy, do the mowing, catch up with a mate, lie in the sun, go for a swim…the day is only half done! You feel kinda like a zombie…but you can catch up on sleep later!

 

Does this sound like you? The market gig is definitely not for everyone, you need to be just a teensy bit crazy – & pretty tough to do it long term. We have some patchies who’ve been doing it for more than 3 years now, rain hail or shine – but we also have some ‘gaps in the market’…so get in contact if you think you might like to fill one for a little while…or maybe even a long while!

Happy to have a chat anytime – see more info at the link below.

MORE INFO HERE