To illustrate a point, I’ll use a real life example. A friend’s daughter spent a few days over at our place in December. Dani is almost like a daughter to us, she is in fact the daughter of our closest personal friends. At dinner she said that she would like to help milk our cow the next morning. The next morning once most of the milking had been done, Dani got her chance at milking the cow, she was given a quick lesson in how a cow’s udder worked and an explanation on how to strip the milk from the teats. I must say that she did an admirable job on her first try. She was only given the opportunity to strip the last, so there was not much milk on offer (we normally do this with first timers) but she got about a cup’s worth of milk out. My wife said that she would strain the milk for her back at the house, and then she could drink it. Her immediate response was “Is it fresh?” we all had a good chuckle and thought it quite cute, however the implications of that seemingly innocent question are far reaching.
Another illustration which we have had a few times is the following scenario. We like to involve the children that visit us in collection of food that will go onto their plates, so they often help to lift, pick and clean veggies for our meals. We have come up against resistance and horror from these kids, as they say the veggies are not fit to eat because they have been grown in the dirt or they have dirt on them.
The only exposure that kids have to food production nowadays is the permanently stocked shelves in their local supermarket. These magical shelves are the sole providers of food, every time they walk into a store the shelves have food. The only fresh food is produced by these shelves! So if the food did not come out of a shop then it’s not fresh. If the food does not come in a clear poly bag, nicely washed and packaged it’s not fresh. If the food has not got a label on it…. It’s not fresh.
The daunting thing is, if food needs a label it’s probably not fresh.
Just think about that statement guys, when was the last time you ate a meal, just one meal where everything on your plate did not have a label? Even the fruits and veg in your local grocer or supermarket are individually labeled or bagged…….. Maybe it’s not just the kids that have magic shelf issues?
In some European towns we have seen farmers markets that literally appear and disappear in a matter of hours, these are held every day in some areas and as few as once a week in others, however one can walk up to the bakers stand and buy a few rolls or a loaf of real crust bread, stroll next door and buy some fresh veggies or maybe a seasonal entrée and a few meters further you can get some real smoke cured meats, we have even seen freshly slaughtered fowl available. All of the produce on offer was grown or produced by the seller. Often there is only a price and no description and one is hard pressed to identify what is on offer. It’s simple, one is expected to know what everything is….. just by looking at it.
In just one generation, the loss and lack of knowledge of the real food chain is astounding. Some kids genuinely believe that stores produce the food that they eat. They have no concept that there is a real live, dirty, smelly chain of events that needs to be performed EVERY DAY to ensure that these stores have food available on the shelves.
Society is so far removed from the often grubby and uncomfortable process of food manufacture that they do not, nor care to understand that food production is a process, they only see the final result of often an entire years hard work and effort. Most of this work and effort is by the farmer, a person whom they never see or meet and is often ridiculed and negatively stereotyped.
Most consumers only see the final product, the lifespan of that final product is often less than a few days, and sometimes even considerably less. No consideration is given to what was required to get that perfect, glossy, poly wrapped food item onto the magic shelf.
So guys, here’s the challenge. Try and eat one meal, just one, where everything is fresh. No labels and preferably locally grown. Drop me a mail with your adventure in trying to procure and eat a “real” fresh meal, I’d love to hear from you.