Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Mom was right: You should eat all your vegetables

I was asked recently how my effort to go High Fructose Corn Syrup-free is going, and the answer is, well, not so good. The problem is that it really is in just about every packaged food you buy. You see, when someone brings in Krispy Kreme donuts to the office I might say, well, I'm sure there's HFCS in here, but I'll have one and that's it. I grew up on Krispy Kreme, and I just can't resist sometimes. So then I feel all healthy because I have my Lean Cuisine frozen lunch. But as I casually read the ingredients on the side of the box, I see what?! It contains HFCS?!

The bottom line is, if it's in a bottle, box, or can, read the ingredients very carefully. It really is everywhere, not just in sodas. From tomato soup to oil and vinegar salad dressing, chances are HFCS's in there.

But there's hope! Spring will be here soon, and and that means so will fresh fruits and vegetables! We are lucky enough to have the room for a decent sized vegetable garden in our yard. But if you can't have a garden, you may want to look into Community Supported Agriculture:
It costs money to run a farm. Farmers need cash to buy seeds, babies, fertilizer, compost; fix equipment, pay employees, pay the mortgage, etc., long before they will sell a single lettuce leaf or lamb. These investments are risky, in a way, because if there is a crop failure, the farmer can't recoup through sales, and risks going into debt or going broke. Community-supported agriculture is one solution to this inherent problem. In a CSA, consumers provide farmers with operating capital, in essence buying their food ahead of time and taking the risk of crop failure along with the grower.

How might this work in your actual life? This month, you would look around at your local food co-op, or online, and discover a few CSA farms in your area. Get their publicity materials, which could be a website or a small flyer. The materials will give a cost, an amount of food, and a description of the system by which you will get the food. For example, for $450 you might get a "full share" at a vegetable farm, enough veggies to feed a family of four on a regular basis. For a little less money, some farms will let you buy a half share, which is handy if you're a single person or smaller household. You would pay that money now -- this is the farmer's operating capital, up front. On a regular schedule -- say, every Wednesday from May to October -- the farm will harvest a box full of various veggies for every member, including you, and leave it at a drop site, which might be a house in your neighborhood, or a local store, or a farmers' market.
You can look for a CSA in your area here. That's good eats!


Mauigirl said...

HFCS is in everything, you are right. We can only hope that the push to ethanol as an energy source may make HFCS more expensive and perhaps manufacturers will go back to using a real ingredient like sugar!

In the summer we always try to buy at local farmers' markets. When I was in college I worked on a local vegetable farm in the summers, picking vegetables and tending their roadside stand. I've always had a "thing" for farms ever since! I hope someday to live somewhere where I can raise my own vegetables all year round!

Sue J said...

I hope someday to live somewhere where I can raise my own vegetables all year round!

Like Hawaii, perhaps?

Sara said...

It is in much more than we would expect but if you get good at reading labels and you eat more veggies, like your mom told you, then you find it easier and easier to keep it in moderation. Then, when someone brings in those donuts, you don't need to feel so guilty about treating yourself :)

Sue J said...

Then, when someone brings in those donuts, you don't need to feel so guilty about treating yourself :)

Oh, don't worry -- there's very little guilt going on about that!