26 January, 2010

I need a degree in food shopping

We all have a level at which we settle in making our decisions about what we buy. Starting from making decisions based purely on price, you can have as many additional factors as you like: country of origin for the political (I grew up in a house that boycotted South Africa and Chile during the 70s), organic or non-organic, local or imported, quality and taste.

It is damned complicated and having moved to a new country with different standards, different methods and different tastes, I am finding shopping a minefield. Do I head over to Whole Foods where I know a lot of the food is high quality, organic, sustainable (whatever those terms actually mean) but also expensive, and I'm supporting a big business with arguably questionable employment practices? Or do I head to the Mission where the food is cheaper and the stores are independent but the origins are not so obvious and it is generally not organic, and the farmers could be using very dubious pesticides? Or do I go to the Farmers Markets which means sacrificing chunks of my weekend to do the food shopping but lets me meet and support farmers directly?

I've decided to sign up with a CSA - community supported agriculture - in my case Eatwell Farms, who are based around 60 miles from San Francisco and deliver weekly boxes of their fruit, veg and free-range eggs to addresses all over the city for collection. First pick-up is Wednesday. I am hoping this will mean fewer days of lugging veg up the hill and then our steps and fewer days of thinking what are we going to eat for dinner. Also I will know where the food is coming from and how it is grown.

That's just the green stuff. Milk and meat will have to wait for another post.

1 comment:

just Gai said...

I like the idea of community supported agriculture. Is your one essentially a veg box scheme or are you invited to invest and have say in the running of the farm?

We have a weekly delivery of fruit and veg (and eggs and milk) from Riverford. The quality is excellent and I relish (though not necessarily meet) the challenge of having to cook with what I find in the box each Friday afternoon.