Tuesday, October 11, 2011

vegan mofo :: "stepford" produce and contest winner

Organic produce from small farms looks better and tastes better

"Stepford" Produce
During my childhood, the flavor of fresh garden tomatoes – tangy, sweet, acidic – made my palate perform backflips of happiness. A sweet-tart apple induced bona-fide puckers, and snap peas tasted smiley-face sweet. These days, most supermarket tomatoes register as neutral as cucumbers. And increasingly, mealy apples, pears, bananas and snap peas don't taste much different than potatoes. Big-agriculture lettuce varieties have also recently lost their subtle but distinguishing flavors.

Why? Much supermarket produce has been cross-bred to create varieties that are humongous, look pretty and ship well. In other words, they are all style and no substance. [Can you say "cha-ching?"]. Since they have lost all elements of their individuality, I call these fruits and veggies "Stepford produce."

Contrast this with the veggies in my CSA share [Wimer's Organics]. They are alive with flavor and color. The carrots might not be the biggest, most perfect-looking carrots, but they are sweet, tender and chemical-free. Do they cost more than imported, supermarket veggies? Yes, slightly more. But I'm getting what I pay for: organic, local, flavor-packed produce. Plus, I feel better knowing that my hard-earned money is supporting a hard-working small farm and not an omnipresent, big agriculture conglomerate. So don't just buy [or grow your own!] local organic out of a crunchy sense of obligation. There's something in it for you, too – more taste and less chemicals.

Contest Winner
Thanks to everyone who entered. And the winner of Bryanna's new cookbook, World Vegan Feast, is....[drumroll]....KellyC. Please email me at "theurbanvegan@yahoo.com" with your address, and we'll get a cookbook sent out pronto.

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