Wednesday, August 28, 2013

On my mind: blueberries going the extra mile

One of my best friends up here is really good with food miles. Really good. She's probably reading this so, hello! ;)
But take a listen... she's got her own chooks which bring in plenty of eggs for her family. They eat vegetarian most meals in the week... much of which comes from their garden.
Their other fruit/veg comes from an organic farm that is about 100m away from their property (with some extras coming back from the Sydney Markets)... and their meat, well, when they aren't using their own chickens (roosters only - sorry gents!) for meat they are eating the organic grass fed meats from our local butcher! I think she gets her other staples from the local IGA.

Why am I telling you about someone else? Well, in comparison here's what we do...
Our eggs come from our neighbours (when we're lucky!) or we buy reputable organic free range eggs from the local grocer, our fruit/veg comes from our garden (what we can) or from the local fruit shop (sometimes from the supermarket - a big chain starting with Wool...) Our meat is generally organic grass fed from our local butcher and we try to eat 3 meat dishes a week and the rest vegetarian, sometimes throwing in some salmon or a fish curry as well! We get our other staples from that store starting with Wool... (usually).

So there are two different examples of families and their food... probably both fairly friendly on the food miles scale... but perhaps only at face value.
How often do I read the labels? Where is my food actually coming from?
Nowadays I actually read do each and every one on most of my shopping trips. Boring. Yep! But I am interested to know where my food is coming from and I try my little heart out to support Australian owned and made, by not buying imported brands AND not buying home branded items where I can.

Here's where the blueberries come in! I usually buy small packs of frozen raspberries and blueberries. We use the suckers ALL the time! Smoothies, to top yogurt, to make our own ice creams, as snacks, on porridge... they're high up there on our list and the cost of buying fresh ones is huge. Would you believe we had a berry farm only 200m away until a few years ago (before our time)... I'd love it to still be there!

After hubby found a jumbo bag of berries at a reasonably discounted price in comparison to the small ones we've been buying those... but I noticed they looked and tasted different, not as nice.
We checked out the back of the pack and sure enough these babies are from Chile. After a little research it would seem most of our frozen berries and even some of our 'fresh' ones are from South America.

I've found them hard to eat ever since. I don't have a lot more to say about the berries because I want to research this some more... 

However, I will say that it's strawberry season here... fresh strawberries are going cheap... these came from our local fruit market and have been a welcome alternative on my porridge to my frozen friends... they're from Queensland. 

I'd love to know your thoughts on this!? Does it worry you where your food is coming from? 
Or not?

(PS. Aside from food miles one of my biggest concerns with this is growing conditions and soil quality. In my recent Permaculture course it really stuck in my mind that the food you eat is only as good as the soil it's grown in (read a bit from William Albrecht to find out more...) and I worry about the soils that I'm not tending to with my compost and my rain water and my love and attention! What is that soil getting?)

Also, check out that cute girl at the top... she makes her own smoothies now... she's a keeper!