There’s something a bit different in today’s blog post. No recipes or reviews. Today I’m waxing lyrical about an issue that is perplexing me. I’m conflicted and I’d love your input. Please tell me what you’d do in this situation.
I love food! I love to write about it, cook it, eat it and share it with friends and family. Food is something that nurtures both my body and my soul. I use my cooking to show people how I care – every bite guaranteed to contain that most special of ingredients LURVE. As you may have noticed, I am somewhat preoccupied with food!
But that’s not all. I also love the environment. I want to minimise any negative impacts on it and make sure our planet is left in a good condition for my young son and his (hopefully) eventual offspring. I read a lot about good environmental choices and try to implement them in my family’s daily life.
We try to abide by the sustainable mantra of eating local food that’s available seasonally. We try to live so as to minimise our carbon footprint.We’re still learning what this means for us and our lifestyle, but we’re getting there.
Consequently, we’ve just moved to a large block in a rural area to follow our dream of a better quality of life. We are trying to grow our own fruit and veggies where possible, feed our scraps to our worms and waste as little as we can. We’re about to get some chickens and ducks to recycle even more – we give them scraps; they give us eggs and poo – magical. And we’re toying with some alternative energy sources to feed our appetite for electricity. Our friends think we are modern day hippies!
And here’s the problem. What happens when you want to buy food that isn’t a sustainable choice? The dilemma in question is cherries!
What’s an environmentalist foodie to do when a major supermarket has the most amazing cherries, incredibly cheap, but sourced from overseas? They’re clearly not a sustainable choice – they are out of season and were sent on a plane from America. But the taste is fabulous – firm, sweet, delectably mouthwatering.
We normally have cherries at Christmas time, spending around $25 per kilogram on local cherries as a special treat for the whole family. It’s now August but the American cherries are here and will cost less than half that price. Should I buy them?
My 6 year old son is salivating as he asks me to buy a big bag to take home for him to eat. The mother in me wants to say yes to him. Cherries are a great choice for a snack for my son. I can put a few in his lunchbox each day and be assured that I’ve provided something healthy.
The foodie in me wants to say yes. We can gorge ourselves on cherries; eat them until the juice is staining our fingers and lips; revel in the freshness, the firmness and the delicious flavours. We don’t know when cherries will be this cheap again.
The responsible environmentalist in me says no. Think of the other costs associated with those cherries: the jet fuel and emissions from transporting them half way across the world by plane; the cost to the local producers of the fruit that people aren’t buying from them this week.
We are about to plant cherry trees in our brand new orchard, the environmentalist reminds me. We will be able to eat fresh cherries from our own garden very soon, in season.
The foodie answers that it will be at least 3 years before we can expect our first harvest. These American cherries are in front of me now! What to do?
In the end, I buy the cherries. The foodie mother wins and the failed environmentalist slinks off in disgust. The lure of those cheap cherries is too much for a dedicated foodie to bear. It’s clear I have no willpower and my greed for cherries and desire to please my son wins out over my love of the planet.
Now I have to justify my decision to myself. Cherries contain lots of vitamins and will be a healthy choice for my son. We will have some delicious fresh fruit in the fridge for snacks. It’s a special treat and I don’t buy out of season very often. These cherries are the cheapest I’ve seen them. Blah, blah, blah.
In the end, my justifications are irrelevant. My inner environmentalist is not happy with the choice and I suffer minor imported cherry guilt as I chomp my way through their delectable deliciousness. It’s not enough to spoil the flavour and predictably we are in cherry heaven as we make our way through a big bag and banish the environmentalist from the room.
Nevertheless, it’s a dilemma. I will probably do the same thing again when imported cherries are cheap in the local supermarket. But I will also remain a conflicted environmentalist foodie (albeit one full of delicious cherries).
So tell me, what would you have done in this situation?