Wednesday, March 5, 2008

This One's Not Complicated

As the sun sets in the west, a jetload of Florida sweet corn heads to Bellingham to tempt the unwary.

I stopped at Barkley Haggen on the way home today to pick up some milk (Wilcox Organic 1%; Wilcox is another Salmon-Safe certified farm, by the way) and spinach. Near the spinach (its sign said Northwest Grown but it didn't say Northwest of what) was a big display of fresh corn. It was flown in from Florida and we are encouraged to put it on the barbecue tonight.

OK, I've tried not to be knee-jerk about food miles. I keep learning these shopping decisions are more complicated than they may appear at first glance. But this corn strikes me as about the dumbest thing to come out of Florida since the 2000 presidential vote count.

  • Sweet corn isn't designed to travel. Granted, new varieties hold their flavors better than the old standards of my youth, which would start losing sweetness as you walked from the garden to the stove. But you still are getting merely a shadow of the true corn experience.

  • Corn has got to have one of the biggest waste/weight ratios going. Someone is jetting this crop from as far across the country as you can get, so we can munch a few rows along the surface and throw the rest, which is most of it, away. Does this make any kind of sense?

  • Put it on the barbecue? In the first week of March? Personally I like to wait until it stops freezing at night before I cook out on the deck.
On a happier note, my first sowings of spinach and lettuce are up. They don't mind a bit of frost, and with any luck I'll have enough for salads in April.

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