Saturday, March 13, 2010

Reality on the Ground

I am writing this post from Atlanta, home of more shopping centers than any other metro area in America and most importantly home of my two grandsons, ages 2 1/2 and 5.  Life in southern Fillmore County is different from life in Atlanta.  For one thing, my home is more than 20 miles from a WalMart.   I know what it feels like to be an endangered species.  East of the Mississippi River there is hardly anyplace left that is more than 20 miles from a Walmart.   Check it out.  You can see the map right here:

So.  Back to Atlanta.  Yesterday we drove (walking is not big in suburban Atlanta) to the park and the library and Costco.   At Costco,  all the food seems to come in big boxes or big packages.  You can often get a lot of food for not very much money.  Some seems to be pretty good quality and some I am not so sure about.  The variety of vegetables seemed especially limited to me.  We took home a 13 pound box of oranges for $8.69.  This morning I showed my grandson Sam (the 5 year old) how to peel oranges and the whole family ate five for breakfast.  They were conventionally grown (that means not organic)  in California.  I don't know who picked and packed and shipped them but I have to say they were very juicy and flavorful.  My grandsons enjoyed them and got some good nutrition besides.

Every household has its own food reality on the ground.  In our house we make cooking fresh organically grown vegetables a priority.  For us it is all about flavor, nutrition, variety, value, good stewardship of soil and water and food safety.   In my older son's house frozen vegetables - often organic -  are the top choice.  Nutrition, cost and convenience are the deciding factors.   In my younger son's house --  well -- he is young and single and working and going to school and the supermarket salad bar is where vegetables mostly happen.  I am just grateful he is eating something other than fast food.

I am glad many American households are working on increasing their vegetable consumption these days - mostly for health reasons.  My husband and I intend to keep doing what we can to introduce our grandkids to the joys of organic vegetables.  Right now we bring them zip loc bags of frozen winter squash and spinach on the airplane.  Sometimes we even bring potatoes, onions, carrots and rutabagas.  I am happy to report frozen or fresh vegetables are okay for carry-on luggage.  Homemade strawberry jam is NOT ok.  I learned that the hard way last year at O'Hare airport.

We are looking forward to a summer visit from Sam.  Lots of vegetable fun is on our to do list.  I'll let you know how it goes.

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