I took my two younger kids to the pumpkin farm with a friend today. On the (overpriced, amuse the city kids – since when are hayrides slow tours of the decorated with cartoon characters corn field, when I was a kid they were bouncy, chilly, night time rides on dirt roads ending at bonfire and far less tame and phoney- contrived) hayride, Nathaniel noted that the fields seemed to go on forever. Wow, lots of corn!
At the end of the day, I picked up two pie pumpkins for two bucks and decided to process my own pumpkin puree. That little adventure took most of the rest of the day and left me with a sticky orange kitchen.
Of course, home processed pumpkin will contain no preservatives, nothing artificial, and will maintain most of its vitamin content fairly intact. I made pumpkin bread, just to top off the evening. With lots of cinnamon.
But the whole experience made me think. Pumpkin usually comes from a can, not a vegetable. Pumpkin cans are “grown” in stores, in neat rows. There is no powdery mildew (which gobbled up my only little pumpkin plant while I was away last week, leaving us with one small underripe pumpkin), no weeds (another reason my pumpkin was smallish, weeds), no planting and harvesting season to be obeyed. We’re pretty far removed from our food.
And in return our food is pretty far removed from its point of origin. Most of its nutritional value is broken down, its loaded with artificial everything. It fights weeds and fungus by means of chemicals, and then passes those fungicides and pesticides on to us. yummy.
I’m no organic crunchy mamma, but Its obvious that this can’t be good for us, mentally or physically. I don’t believe in “better living through chemistry.” Nor do I believe that people are really too poor to live healthier lifestyles. Most “green” products are indeed repugnantly pricey, but the things that really work to keep us healthier and the planet greener are not products. The things that work are practices, things that don’t cost anything and will tend to save money in the end.
If I wanted to nickel and dime myself to death, I saved about $7 by processing my own pumpkin. Of course, as an hourly wage, that stinks. But I had fun, and its something good to feed the family. Not bad for a day’s work.