Redefining Fresh

May 17, 2011 at 6:00 am 7 comments

A guest post by author Michael Nolan

The aisle at the supermarket is marked with signs proclaiming their “Fresh Produce”. In their case, fresh means tomatoes that were picked green and shipped in from Mexico after three days in the gas chamber with ethylene (C2H4) a colorless, flammable gas that just so happens to be a petroleum derivative.

The popular sub sandwich chain wants us to “Eat Fresh” with shredded iceberg lettuce that arrives at the store in sealed bags. How fresh can that be? I even went to a local “Farm Fresh” farm stand recently where they were selling fresh bananas. In Alabama. In April. Am I the only one around here who knows that we can’t grow bananas in Alabama?

The time has come to redefine “fresh”. To understand that the term is being abused and bastardized beyond recognition is a good starting point but the only real way to ensure that you and your family are getting real fresh food is to grow it yourself or to personally know the people who are. Growing your own food isn’t nearly the all-encompassing time hog that some would have you believe, nor does it have to break the bank – though I will admit to spending far more on gardening over the years than I ever should have.

Putting an end to food scares

Ever notice that E. coli thing that pops up periodically? You can’t buy onions. Or spinach. Tomatoes, peppers, you name it. In more than 30 years of growing my own food I have yet to experience E. coli or other diseases in my fresh food. I have never heard of someone who grows their own fresh produce dealing with it either.

If you’ve ever griped over the fact that you just can’t buy a decent tomato anymore then you are a perfect candidate for growing your own. It isn’t complicated, doesn’t take much time or effort and you can even do it if all you have to work with is a couple of square feet on a balcony. What’s more, the tomatoes you grow yourself will not be the mealy, flavorless lumps of nothing that you’d be wasting your hard earned cash for in the supermarket.

Start small, with just a couple of plants that you know you enjoy. Tomatoes are a popular starter (and the most popular garden plant grown in the US), but you could even start with a container of herbs or colorful salad greens that will produce over and over throughout the season.

When it comes to fresh food, start taking responsibility for you and your family and stop taking their word for it. Their job is to sell you what they have. Your job is to stop buying the lies.

Michael Nolan, The Garden Rockstar is an author, blogger and speaker on gardening, sustainability, food ethics and homesteading. He is currently in the process of writing a new guest post on a different site for each day in May. To follow his progress, visit


Entry filed under: Gardening, News, trends.

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7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jenn  |  May 17, 2011 at 8:53 am

    I love that you are encouraging all to grow! I was raised with fresh veggies! It was important to me to pass that to my own children. One summer we did a taste test. We ate stuff from our garden and some store bought veggies! My kids will not eat tomatos from a store after that taste test! Smart kids! We call ourselves veggie snobs!

    • 2. coronatools  |  May 17, 2011 at 9:15 am

      Jennifer, that’s great that kids know the difference in taste. My daughter loves tomatoes and when she ate one from the store, commented, “these aren’t as good as the ones from the garden”… She was 6 and made the connection. There is a reason we grow fresh at home and hopefully Michael’s post helps drive that point home for others. Thanks for the comment! Chris

    • 3. Michael Nolan  |  May 17, 2011 at 9:46 am

      Thanks, Jenn! Keep those kids in the garden and with fresh foods in their hands!

  • 4. Annie Haven | Authentic Haven Brand  |  May 17, 2011 at 8:54 am

    Bravo, Bravo, Bravo Michael Nolan for another wonderful and Oh, so true post!

    Your Quote: “When it comes to fresh food, start taking responsibility for you and your family and stop taking their word for it. Their job is to sell you what they have. Your job is to stop buying the lies.” this could not have been stated anymore truthfully : )

    • 5. coronatools  |  May 17, 2011 at 9:11 am

      Annie, it is so true and easy to believe that the produce we buy would be considered “fresh”. I often hear people talking about how they are eating healthier, fresh foods, but fail to think about how that produce is grown. If people knew they were giving up fat, carbs or sodium to live a healthier lifestyle and instead introducing chemicals, hormones, processed additives, etc., is one better than the other? If the goal is to live a healthier life, it’s important to know the source or grow it fresh at home. Chris

    • 6. Michael Nolan  |  May 17, 2011 at 9:48 am

      Thanks, Annie. I’m just frustrated by the problems in our society that all circle right back to the same central problem: we don’t know where our food comes from or what is in it.

  • 7. Cheryl Ballmer  |  May 17, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    I have been a garden freak since 1988 when I helped a landscaper perform magic at my house. He explained things as he went and I fell in love with dirt! Then my elderly neighbor taught me how to can my veggies, and I have never looked back! Truth be told, had I known how much I would love playing in the dirt, I would never have gone into nursing, I would have gone into landscaping. I do have my own little greenhouse too.


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