We got tomatoes in our veg box this week.
They were grown at a local farm. Great for keeping down food miles.
But it’s November.
So how did they get us fresh tomatoes?
They either picked them green and left them to ripen for a month or grew them in heated greenhouses.
Neither option is ideal. If they were picked weeks ago, their nutritional content and flavour will have been declining from the moment of picking.
If they were grown in greenhouses, then there’s the environmental impact of heating and irrigation to consider. It costs a fortune to protect delicate crops from November frosts.
The in-box leaflet said “vine ripened”, so I guess these are greenhouse tomatoes.
But why should we care?
Basically, if you’re looking at the impact of your food, it’s not enough just to consider food miles. You should also look at how it was grown.
Produce grown in the UK out of season may be more environmentally damaging than importing it from abroad. It doesn’t take many weeks of greenhouse heaters and irrigation systems to negate the damage caused by a lorry. Local, in this case, might not be the best option.
But you can’t easily tell how your food was grown. So what can you do?
Bite the bullet and go seasonal. If it’s in season and local, then you know you’re doing your best to “eat green”.
It can be tough to make the change. After all, fresh tomatoes in winter are a luxury. It just takes practice and planning. The best way to start is by knowing what’s in season when and how to cook it. Then you quickly get to the stage where you look forward to seasonal variations.
And if your veg box is bringing you stuff that concerns you, tell your box scheme provider. They’re under pressure to keep up the variety and stop you getting bored. But if you notice too many unseasonal goodies creeping in, have a word with them!
If you liked that post, then try these...
Traditional Medicinal Gets Wild by Arcadia on December 7th, 2009
The Non-GMO Shopping Guide by Arcadia on December 3rd, 2009
Is Veggie Gardening Going Far Enough? by Clare on September 22nd, 2009
Like many of us this summer, I've been experimenting with growing my own veggies.