I’m reading another great book for my course call The End of Food – how the industry is destroying our food supply – and what you can do about it by Thomas F. Pawlick. I’ve only read the first two chapters and I’m already inspired to share what I’m learning.
His first chapter is called Red tennis balls and Pawlick shares his experience with buying some tomatoes out of season. He purchases some bright red tomatoes that are rock hard. He expects them to ripen quickly because they were red when he bought them. He keeps checking on them, day after day, and eventually two weeks go by, and they’re still hard, and actually start sprouting on the inside.
He goes on to explain the process when we buy produce that is out of season and shipped from California or Florida. Tomatoes, for example, are picked when they are green, and loaded into trucks. After transport, they are sprayed with ethylene (a plant hormone) in “ripening rooms” to make them red. The result is a rock hard, flavorless, red tomato that isn’t actually ripe.
On the flip side, when you buy tomatoes in season they are allowed to ripen naturally. When ethylene is allowed to do its job the way nature intended; the sugars accumulate right before the tomatoes are ready, giving them their sweet flavor, natural colour and softness. Doesn’t that sound more appealing than “ripening room” tomatoes?
My advice to you: eat seasonally! Foodland Ontario (www.foodland.gov.on.ca/english/food-facts.html) is a great resource to find out what produce is in season at what time of year, and usually the grocery store flyers will correspond. Your local farmer’s markets are also a great resource. Buy local, seasonal produce, and cook and bake accordingly.
Some produce that is in season in Ontario right now:
-Summer squash or zucchini