The color orange is a jolly one, it is, especially mid winter. Even better when sweetness is wrapped up in it. Like in mandarins. I almost bought some yesterday but stopped short of doing so because of all the chemicals they come loaded with. Not even going to the pesticide load they carry before harvesting even, will leave that aside for now. Just the stuff they’re sprayed with to keep fresh and bright colored while waiting quietly for people like me to buy them. As much as I love them and I know the boys do too I could not get myself past the imazalil and TBZ (thiabendazole). The wrongness of seeing those words on something I am supposed to eat makes my insides churn in a very uncomfortable way. These chemicals (and more like them) are added post-harvest to prevent mold growth. Fair enough. Moldy fruit is no fun. Some of the organic citrus fruit I am buying gets moldy even if kept in the fridge. Annoying as that is, I accept the moldy decay with dignity. It’s a fact of nature. Not all fruit makes it from the tree to my mouth completely spotless and unharmed. Just like not all fruit gets attacked by mold. The way I see it, it’s natural selection. We want that dealt with. Have our cake and eat it too. The more I think of it the more I realize the fallacy of such larger than life requests. It cannot be. And that’s not all good news. Sobering, if you will.
Most fruit come with their natural wax and that’s bound to make them resistant to pests and mold. Conventionally treated citrus have the natural wax removed and a synthetic one added together with fungicides to prevent mold growth. Because we want our fruit perfect: ripeness, color, sweetness. freshness, firmness. And good luck seeing any major size discrepancies in sold fruit. That’s also taken care off.
I’m not sure about the trade off anymore. And quite sure on the other hand that we’re kind of holding the short stick. Not just with citrus, but with food in general. Forget about eating what’s in season, that’s long gone.Some of us do it but it gets rather complicated. I am not sure how many of us know exactly what eating seasonally involves. What should be available during the winter months? Definitely no fresh and cheap strawberries or raspberries. Or most of the fresh produce grocery stores have be it summer or winter. The way I see it, there’s a bit of a catch. If it’s the season for it, it needs fewer chemicals to grow and stay fresh. If it’s not the season for it, it needs to be shipped from somewhere else and that means chemical treatment because it needs to reach the destination all perky and beautifully fresh. If it needs lost of chemicals to grow and stay fresh guess where those chemicals will end up? Bingo! Say thank you to your liver, it deals with a lot. More about that in another post. So what about fruit and veggies that don’t grow where we live, you ask? If I’d have any say in it, I’d settle for mine to bear the treat status. It would be a bit pricey because I’d like it to be clean of chemicals and with no child or forced labor behind it, but something makes me think that appreciation for a mandarin would go up and very little food leftovers will be thrown in the garbage.
I think we need to go back and rethink our food needs and wants. Appreciation of food should have little to do with price. There was a time when people looked forward to the first crop of the season from the green onions in spring to the sweet summer fruit and fresh vegetables to the the rich fall crops that were supposed to last all winter. The exotic fruits and veggies made a meal even more special. Appreciation has to do with quality and taste and not in the least with how it affects our health. Having it all cheap and available comes with a huge tag price. Even with a perfectly looking fruit in my hand I see spoilage. With harm-causing roots running deeper than any naturally occurring mold ever could.