Opinion Vegetarian food discussion

THIS IS NOT A TOMATO! 5 Reasons You Should Be Eating Local

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This is not a tomato! I feel deceived, cheated, mislead, deluded into thinking that this was a tomato my whole life. What you see in that photo is a poor excuse of a vegetable (or fruit?).

Okay, so what am I yammering on about? TOMATOES! I love tomatoes so much that I felt the need to write about them. I like all types, shapes and species. I like them cooked or raw. I like them in a sandwich or as a side. I just love them and up until 7 months ago I didn’t realize how good they could get.  I always knew that home garden tomatoes were tastier but I resigned to mostly consuming grocery store tomatoes. Then I signed up to weekly veggie baskets from Lufa farms. My first basket contained a pint of cherry tomatoes that were so juicy and sweet; I could eat them like candy. From that moment on I exclusively ate locally grown Lufa tomatoes.

Unfortunately, last week something terrible happened. For reasons out of my control, I missed my basket. Lufa generously refunded me but I was forced to wait a WHOLE week to get my tomatoes! In preparation for dinner, my sis and I were forced buy tomatoes at the grocer. My sister carefully selected the best looking and most expensive tomatoes on the vine. No matter how red and plump they looked in the shop, they were still tasteless and bland.

Why do grocery store tomatoes suck?

The main reason for the tasteless tomatoes is that they are prematurely picked. Since most tomatoes we consume are grown in Mexico or California, they are picked while green and change colour over the transportation process. This means the fruit (or vegetable?) is picked before it has had time to receive the proper nutrients needed to make it nourishing and tasty. Another reason is that farmers know that growing a “good looking” tomato is more important than a tasty one. As long as it looks pretty in the shop, it will sell. Read more about this here.

This principle is not just true of tomatoes but a multitude of fruits and veggies. That is why it is so important to eat local. It’s not just about saving the planet. It’s about rewarding your body with nutritious food that will delight your taste buds. And hey, you also reduce your carbon foot print at the same time.

In Montreal we’re really lucky to have a service like Lufa growing local rooftop tomatoes all year round. Your tomatoes will be picked the very morning that they are sent to you. Can you imagine how much more delicious they are? Lufa also partners up with a number of local organic farms. One of my favourite items from the partner farms is fresh garlic, which is significantly better than the ridiculously old store bought garlic from China.

Equiterre also offers organic baskets all year round and while they may not have as many tomatoes as Lufa, they are worth checking out too.

Moral of the story: Eat local.

5 Reasons You Should Be Eating  Local:

  1. Become a better cook. You’ll be forced to be more creative in the kitchen, working with the veggies that you receive. Even with customizable baskets, you’ll still have to choose from a more limited list of vegetables. A nice perk is that you’ll often get to try veggies that you never thought of eating before.
  2. Save money. You’ll pay a little more at first but you’ll waste way less. The mere fact that you’ve paid more will encourage you to eat everything. Not to mention the veggies are fresh and haven’t spent a week on a truck/ship/plane, they’ll last way longer in your fridge.
  3. Feel great. Good food is really satisfying for your mind and body. The blast of natural vitamins and minerals will leave you feeling like a super star.
  4. Consume less pesticides. Community vegetable baskets are almost always organic and if they are not certified organic, they still avoid pesticides. That means you’ll consume significantly less harmful chemicals.
  5. Save the planet. Okay, I’m an exaggerating, you won’t save the planet but if you keep it up, you’ll significantly decrease your carbon footprint.

Go local!

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