Thursday, January 18, 2007

My hide is still chapped.


I ranted so much in my own comments this morning that I decided to make a post about it. This thing doesn't look ugly to me. Unfortunately, it still probably tastes like nothing I'd eat.

Okay, here's the deal. I am torn. It's not for me that I protest the protest about UglyRipe tomatoes; I haven't tried them, and I won't try them. I eat tomatoes in season, as the ones grown commercially aren't even a simulacrum of "tomato" in my mind. And I do have qualms about Big Government roughing up Big Ag, but that is mostly because I don't see an alternative. My kid goes to my in-laws' house and eats blackberries the size of strawberries and strawberries the size of plums, and they both taste like sawdust, but my kid is a kid and therefore just plain likes fruit. I even tasted some chicken not too long ago...Tyson, or some such...at someone's insistence and it wasn't chicken, it was gum. Hours-old JuicyFruit. I understand the idea of eating what people are "used to," but damn. Do people not have memories? Was a madeleine biscuit just a literary conceit Proust employed to write 7 books? I think not! EAT=MEMORY.

Why settle, is my question. Why think you are getting a bargain if that ginormous head of lettuce or that 7-lb chicken tastes like...water and gum!

And why DOES the government throw up obstacles to small farmers producing good food. Why CAN'T I get raw milk anymore. Why CAN'T farmers slaughter their pigs, sheep, goats and cows on-site, if poultry is okay.

I understand that the object of all the regulations and all the hurdles is consistency. Consistency, and blandness. That, and a splash of e. coli and a touch of salmonella. No big deal!

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

You shouldn't have to go all winter without tomatoes :)

Anyway, I have tried UglyRipes and they are actually VERY tasty. Even my vegetarian friend Rachel who is a bit of a connoisseur swears by them.

If you go to their homepage (santasweets.com) there's a link to a tomato blog that the creator of the Uglyripe started.

Eleutheros said...

There are two bits of info sprinkled in the article which explain much:

1) Bush blatantly states that the Uglyripe tomato competes with other tomatoes. Apparently the regulation thwarting the distribution of the tomato is a guild law which has little to do with protecting the consumer and much to do with suppressing the competition to those who paid for the law.

But more importantly:

2) The article says the tomato is bred from a French heirloom crossed with other genetic material to make the stem stronger and the tomato more disease resistant. Both of these are only considerations for mechanized, industrialized agribusiness. Else a smallholder would just grow the original French heirloom and be done with it.

Gum and water reminded me of an octogenarian uncle who was complaining that potatoes now of days, boiled it make mashed potatoes, look and taste like a bowl full of ice. He'd been a gardener all his life and when he could no longer raise his own potatoes, he could not stomach the commercial ones which are raised almost hydroponically in sand.

I had the honor of his last potatoes being from my own garden.

Liz said...

You definitely *should* go all winter without fresh tomatoes. Why do we feel that we should have everything fresh all the time, no matter where it comes from? It's unnatural!

I figure the reason Big Ag and Big Gov are so tightly in bed together is because every percentage point matters. They say that organics only make up about 2% of the marketplace, and local maybe another 1%. In an economy where you need to increase sales, profits, whatever every year, that 2-3% is the difference between success and failure.

You should know that my hide is plenty chapped, too. I in no way was condoning the way either Big Gov or Big Ag operates... somehow it has become the norm, and I used to get really pissed off about it (perhaps not as much as you... I can get raw milk in the co-op), but now? If people want to eat crap, let them. I figure it's my responsibility to support and connect with artisan growers/cheese makers/bakers, etc. and maybe spread the Gospel of Good Food.

I guess you really should get that milk cow. ;)

El said...

Anonymous: I guess I don't miss fresh tomatoes: I have canned/frozen/dried enough to enjoy the rest of the year. And Eleutheros: you're quite right about the guild law. What's that about sausage and legislation...you don't REALLY want to know how it's made? Your uncle had food memory, as do you, and isn't that half the pleasure of producing your own food: preparing it for and sharing it with your loved ones. You're right to feel honored. Liz, we're both very lucky to both KNOW and be able to grow decent food. I see the "lunches" packed for my kid's classmates and I simply blanch. Yes, it honks me off that I can't get raw milk, though I am able, with effort, to get everything else I need, produced in a way that I can tolerate (and of course enjoy). I guess I simply can't stop wondering if people are ever going to wake up. HFCS is the new opiate for the masses, I suppose.

Anonymous said...

I'm part of the team that grows and markets the Uglyripes so i must acknowledge that i am certainly biased... Seasons are really just a matter of geograpy and logistics. The Uglyripes are really the best tasting tomatoes on the market
I invite you to email me and i'll gladly send you a sample (no-charge, by the way) if you don't like them, feel free to post your true and honest experience.
Email me (Manuel Rivera) at mrivera@santasweets.com or Chris Grallert @ cgrallert@santasweets.com.

Bon appetit!!!