Spring is a time of re-birth and like the start of a new calendar year I welcome the opportunity to wipe the slate clean and begin again. As people we should constantly be improving ourselves and there is no better way to start than with our food consumption and overall eating habits.
I’ve stated before that changing over to a sustainable food lifestyle is not always easy. It’s been a year since I committed to converting my own family and needless to say we still fall short at times. Last week I talked about my bread buying habits and eventual switch to making homemade bread and this week I’m going to share some other areas where my sustainable family still falls short.
- Bananas and Grapes – Those of you that have children know that Bananas and Grapes are some of the first finger foods that most people give to their children and mine have been no exception and quite frankly there isn’t anything local about Bananas, now I have found some organic ones but it seems like such an oxymoron, organic from Chile. Needless to say I keep Bananas in the house despite the fact that they have traveled farther than I ever will just to get to my local supermarket. The same goes for table grapes, New Jersey does have a short season for table grapes but inevitably I always miss it, most of the grapes grown in the state are for wine making purposes. According to the Agriculture Marketing Resource Center 99% of the table grapes sold in this country are produced in California.
- Frozen Fruits and Vegetables – My family and I do freeze quite a bit of our own stuff from the summer harvest, strawberries, blueberries, bell peppers, peas, sliced zucchini and yellow squash but I’m not above keeping frozen spinach, broccoli and corn from the supermarket in the house. I have to have spinach year round, frozen spinach is great in the dead of winter added to soups, casseroles, frittatas, pasta, etc. (and yes I do eat my fair share of Kale, Chard, Mustard Greens and the like when they are in season, but I still have to have my frozen spinach) My husband actually likes frozen broccoli better than fresh. I can’t figure out that one but anything to keep the man happy I suppose.
- Boxed Cereal – Once again I’m going to blame my girls’ for this one. I have one word, “Cherrios” favorite finger food of kids around the globe, and until someone tells me how to make my own there will probably always be a box properly displayed above my refrigerator. Now don’t get me wrong, we also eat quite a bit of homemade granola, oatmeal and my oldest hasn’t met a corn grit that she didn’t like but even with that the Cherrios are staying. However one thing you will not find is Captain Crunch, Lucky Charms or any of those other high sugar loaded cereals I believe induce tantrums in children.
- White Sugar – Otherwise known as the devil incarnate. Boy sugar is getting a bad wrap these days. (Says the girl with an insatiable sweet tooth). Unless I’m baking I put down white sugar a long time ago, honey, maple syrup, Demerra sugar have all served me well. However Mr. Jones was quick to inform me that his coffee doesn’t taste right without and Sweet Tea is not real Sweet Tea without white sugar. I even tried buying organic and I got the “What’s wrong with this sugar? Its off-white”.
Well honestly that’s about it and if this is the worse that my family is doing than we’re fairing a lot better than most in this country. I know I’m not alone out there so I want to know what are some of your stories, are you also buying bananas from South America, do tell I’m dying to know.
Next Time –Early Spring Recipes from the New Jersey Shore – Less Talking, More Cooking
Heather Jones is a wife, mother, freelance food writer, and graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City. She has worked for Gourmet Magazine, TV Personality Katie Brown, and the New York based Indian-fusion restaurant Tabla. Heather resides in New Jersey with her husband and two daughters. She is a strong supporter of the Sustainable Food Movement and believes that education is the key to making a difference.