Tuesday, 12 March 2013

In the praise of local produce

Something as simple as a trip to the shops is enough to make me giddy here. Especially trips to the local fruit and vegetable stalls. There's an abundance of everything and in all their Technicolor- glory they're a sight for sore eyes. And thanks to our Southern location, it's all local. 

There are sweet potatos from Cadiz, peppers from Almeria, mandarins from Malaga... and customer service à la Costa. "Madam, careful then- those chillis are hot! Muy caliente!"

I can't help but think of the horse meat scandal raging in The Gentleman's home country. Anthropological analysis on the traumatizing impact of eating equine produce has explained that the English are such animal-loving people and horse in particular has a very special place in the national psyche. As a member of another Northern nation keen to devour any four-legged animals (yes, we're what happened to Rudolph...) choosing what I eat has never posed massive ethical dilemmas to me. Though... I might have to draw the line at Pandas. 

Of course people have the right to know what it is staring at them on a plate and sure, people need to be able to trust that the content really is what it says on the tin. But I can't help but feel something very important is amiss here.

What kind of quality can one expect to get if the cheapest possible price is all that counts? Can one then really expect to be served anything other than the scrap left over from abattoirs? Cereal, pink slime and God knows what else. And if the lowest possible price is really the only thing that matters, people might want to ask themselves this: how is it possible to keep the price so low throughout the whole production chain? By outsourcing the sourcing and processing of the material to an obscure conditions of an even more obscure Romanian village?

If the origins and the production conditions really matter, then one is willing to pay for it, too.


My purse might have been light after the shopping trip but the carrier bags certainly weren't. No matter how much I buy fruit veg, I seem to have fooled myself into thinking that  it's buying 5-a-day that counts, not actually consuming them... But perhaps now as we're slowly but surely approaching summer I might actually change that...?

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