Originally published on CFJC Today Kamloops and Armchair Mayor News on Monday August 1, 2019.

Have you read the one about the fake honey? There is lots of it in Canada, almost 23 percent of the tested samples proved to be sticky mix of corn syrup and sugar derived from various sources such as rice, beets and others, instead of pure honey. It would be helpful to have names for all the brands selling fake honey but that has yet to surface if at all.

For anyone who does not believe in getting rich via lies and deceit it’s frustrating to think we are at the mercy of food crookery. Come to think of it, one wonders what the consequences are for those who engage in such activities, given that our justice system is so lenient, but I’ll leave that for another column.

Meanwhile, what about those who wish to spread some honey over that sourdough slice, or buttered toast? Where is the good honey hiding? Actually, nowhere secret; it’s in plain sight at the farmer’s market or local shops. Have you tried any? I have my favourites, so it’s hard to choose. Local, real honey is flavourful and somewhat addictive. I mean that in the best way, far from the stereotypical sugar addiction. You come to know goodness when you taste it. The closer you are to where your food is being produced, the higher the chance it’s real.

It goes way beyond honey of course.

When it comes to food, history has been taking us to the same conclusion: cheap is not where it’s at. By cheap I mean very cheap, which is what so much of the mainstream food has become (and with that food waste has increased to shameful volumes.)

To be clear, I am not an advocate for expensive food, but for real and local. Good food is simple and tasty. After many years of shopping at various farmer’s markets, whether here or on the coast, or in various other B.C. places I have visited, I am surprised by this one thing: Food sold at farmer’s markets is reasonably and fairly priced, (according to hours of work, resources, losses etc.) and it’s plenty.

If I buy a bag of green beans I will be able to use every single one of them with nothing thrown out. Then there’s the taste and texture; picked that morning or the night before. Then there’s the human element that sweetens the deal. You get to know who grows your food and they get to know your preferences. It’s an exchange like no other.

I have written many times about the Kamloops farmer’s market. I love the celebration that takes place in our community every Saturday morning by the former Stuart Wood Elementary School and then again on Wednesdays mornings on Victoria Street; the joy of seeing familiar faces and sharing stories and laughter; the excitement that comes with getting your favourite foods and the surprise of trying something new; the treat indulgence which is part of it all (and by treat I mean anything from a crisp salad turnip – my weakness, to pastries, savoury treats or coffee.)

Another thing: The peace of mind that comes with the food you get at the market or in local stores is priceless. The fact that we have to be on alert for possible recalls is frustrating and unrealistic. It’s often not the fault of a single human, but a glitch in a system that has become too big for its own good. And yet, we forgive and move on. Here’s a link to the latest food recalls if you care to take a peek. Scary but avoidable.

As for the ultimate argument for locally grown food… when we eat what grows near, we want that near to be clean, be it water, soil or air. We become one of the elements of the cycle that keeps us fed and keeps us healthy. We become invested in that common cause of keeping the place we live in vibrant and the local economy thriving. While eating well. For real.