How Fresh is Fresh?

Like most people, I imagine, when I buy fruit and vegetables in a shop I often leave it in the fridge for a week.  Or even longer.

However, when I have grown the food myself the opposite happens.  I rush it into the house and want to eat it immediately.  If lettuce leaves are not eaten the day they are picked they are too old, so I throw them into the worm farm.  Likewise, when we had chooks we ate their eggs much sooner after they were laid than we do with store-bought eggs.  I have no idea how long ago the eggs I buy were laid.

One day, hopefully, I'll be able to grow enough food in my backyard to have some left over for storing and preserving.  Even then, I hope to process it at the peak of its perfection, not after it has been sitting in the fridge for a week (or two).

It seems strange, I guess, that I have lower standards for food for which I pay good money than for food that only cost me the price of a few seeds, yet that is indeed the case.  It is probably a consequence of our commercial food system that dissociates us from the place and time of production and gives us a distorted view of what fresh food is.  Eleven month-old cold-storage apples, anyone?

In any case, when I have grown something myself I know exactly where and how it was grown, and when it was picked.  I value the food because I dug the soil and planted the seeds myself.  And I know that when I tell my children that we are having a fresh salad for tea I really mean it.

carrots and onions


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