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Feb 2, 2010
I've been vegetarian for about 30 years.  It never caused my family or friends anxiety.  I would eat around the meat or fish and never ask for any special treatment.  In the early years it was easy to shop.  I'd hit the farmers' market, stroll through the fruits and vegetables and make great casseroles, salads and fruit and veggie shakes.  Life was good.

When I moved to Chicago and the first Whole Foods grocery store opened, I was in organic nirvana.  I shopped for organic foods, this store spoke my language, bananas tasted more banana-y, blueberries tasted as I'd remembered them from childhood, apples were almost orgasmic in their sweetness and juiciness.  What a treat compared to the increasingly tasteless produce in the chain stores.  I trusted the Oregon Tilth and other established entities to certify that a food was organic.  I trusted the small farmer whose name and face appeared above the apples I purchased.  There were even great frozen organic products by a variety of labels.

After several years, the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture realized there was money to be made in the organic field.  They created their own organic certification.  Shortly after, the variety of companies disappeared and Whole Foods started replacing other brands with their own 365 Day Organic brand.  Let's face it, it may have been a store with a mission, but when there's big money to be made, let's get involved.

Then one day I decided to purchase the store's brand of frozen organic spinach.  I usually buy fresh produce, but sometimes the frozen stuff comes in handy.  When that day came, I opened the bag of spinach and was about to pour it into a pan when the words "Product of China" stood out on the back of the bag like a skull and crossbones.  My first thought was why is the U.S. importing spinach; don't we grow enough here?  My second thought was about pollution in China--why would I eat something grown in soil by a country known for its lack of control with respect to use of pesticides, a country that for profit poisoned its own babies with tainted formula and denied any wrong doing.  Maybe there were traces of lead in the spinach.  Well, I complained to Whole Foods.  Their manager was as surprised as I was, and he had a nice smile, too.  Guess I'd just have to watch the labels very carefully.

A couple of days ago, I was in our local hispanic produce store.  They're beginning to carry some organic produce, and their non-organics look fresher and more alive than the food in the large chain stores which is warehoused for weeks or months prior to going on the shelves.  I picked up a bag of four bulbs of organic garlic and son of a gun, it's a product of China.  Then I noticed some organic Mandarin oranges.  Thankfully, they were grown in California so I bought them.

Gee, what's my moral to this story?  Not sure, but until we can repay China the big money we owe them, read your food labels carefully.
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Posted: Feb 2, 2010 8:02am

 

 
 
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Pat L.
, 2, 1 child
Chicago, IL, USA
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