peaches

I love the U.S., I really do.

But why am I eating a mealy, bland peach grown in California when I am living in a part of the world where peaches, and many other varieties of fruits and vegetables, are abundant and in season right now? Why am I spitting out a mushy hot-house tomatoes and flavorless, woody plums in the middle of the summer??? Why???

Back in my socialist, fascist country where we provide health insurance to all and do not wait for months for care no matter what your Republican congressman tells you, you could get fresh local produce in grocery stores all spring, summer and fall. There were signs indicating which produce was locally grown — it was a “Foodland Ontario” sign in my province.  I just assumed that’s how it would work here too.

So imagine my surprise to find no local strawberries in June in either the Giant or the Safeway grocery stores in my neighborhood. I told myself it was a rainy spring, and perhaps the strawberry crop got rained out. But no. No berries, no tomatoes, no corn, no plums, peaches, nectarines — nothing local at all. Finally last week my Giant had a small bin of local peaches. They charged almost two bucks a peach, almost twice as much as the mealy ones sitting nearby from California. This is WRONG.

I suppose fascism is behind Canada’s practice of promoting local produce — U.S. produce-growers would probably argue such promotion amounts to an unfair trade subsidy. Very Stalin-ish, it is, to ensure people eat fruit that hasn’t travelled thousands of miles to its destination and, oh yeah, tastes much better.

But all I know is this — I am a fruit and veggie junkie. It’s all I eat all summer. There is nothing more maddening than biting into a woody peach in the middle of summer. That shit’s NOT RIGHT.

I will continue to go to my local farmer’s market once a week and get fleeced on local produce because it’s worth the money. But these grocery store chains should be ashamed of themselves. Local growers should be on their asses to have them stock their produce — and to showcase it. Their sales would go through the roof, meaning local producers could also eventually drop their prices.

Please — I’d give anything for a succulent peach, a sun-ripened, juicy tomato,  a sugary plum bursting with nectar. ANYTHING.

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