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$hit Happens: The Disgusting Side of Being Green

$hit Happens: The Disgusting Side of Being Green

My roommate sent me a picture, panicked:

farmers market fruit isn't always perfect, just like this peach..

I immediately was transported to one sunny spring day in 1995. The school cafeteria was chattering full of fifth graders gossiping about the previous night’s forbidden 90210 episode and the new TLC song.

My dad always purchased fresh fruit and I had an array of delicious snacks to choose from. As I opened my lunch and took a huge bite of my ripe, juicy plum, I froze. I looked down and saw a wiggling worm greeting me from my previous teethmarks. I’m pretty sure I stayed silent and threw the plum straight into the trashcan.

Being the spoiled brat that I was, I marched into my house that afternoon to yell at my mom about the poisoned plum she gave me, just like Snow White’s trap. My mom only smiled and giggled in reply, so I stormed off to my room, traumatized.

Now, I can appreciate why my mom laughed.

Getting farm-fresh foods without pesticides risks that nature continues its course. Pesticides can affect your colon and have been linked to cancer, Alzheimer’s, ADHD & birth defects. While these chemicals are hazardous to your health, it’s very difficult to eat a completely organic diet. (Think of a restaurant ingredient or if you dine at a friends place…) Buying from local farmers is one way to cut the pesticides from your diet.

Yet not everyone is used to this ‘go local’ culture.  There was one work day I recall proudly prepping a salad made from lettuce freshly cut from my parents backyard. My colleague at the time looked over in disgust, stating she could “never eat from her back yard because of ‘bugs and stuff'”. I silently chuckled at this irony, realizing that insects are secretly mixed into a lot of processed foods. Plus, the alternative to ‘bug free’ is purchasing conventional produce from a grocery store with a side serving of pesticides.

Farmer’s markets and fresh, local produce doesn’t ‘look’ as pretty as the supermarket frankenfoods. And they may have the occasional flaw or god forbid, bug. But there are lessons in life: Don’t judge a book by its cover, and don’t judge the fruit by its shoddy appearance. The peaches I got from a western Pennsylvania Farmers Market were the sweetest I’ve tasted in years, and at 8 for $3, it was definitely a bargain!

In response to the text, I responded to my roommate, “It is gross. But pesticides are a lot grosser.”

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Julie Hancher is Editor-in-Chief of Green Philly, sharing her expertise of all things sustainable in the city of brotherly love. She enjoys long walks in the park with local beer and greening her travels, cooking & cat, Sir Floofus Drake. View all posts by Julie Hancher
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