local vs. imported produce
john hendrickson (JHENDRIK@macc.wisc.edu)
Mon, 30 Jan 95 13:37 CDT
The question of whether locally grown produce is nutritionally superior to
imported produce is an important one. The amount of time from field to table
can be important factor but, ironically, can sometimes favor imported produce
(or at least that is what I have been told by a nutritionist) because local
produce sometimes sits at a farm stand, farmers' market, or Community Supported
Agriculture (CSA) drop-off for hours (days?) without benefit of refrigeration.
Much of the produce coming from the vast vegetable fields in California (and
this is a large proportion of what we eat in the U.S.) is refrigerated in the
field and remains so until it hits a shopping basket. There are serious
environmental, economic, and social consequences of this "chill chain". I
personally believe that a more sustainable food system is one that is more
regionally self-reliant (i.e. local). But the question remains, is local
produce more nutritious? I guess it depends on how it is grown and how it is
handled after harvest.
An article in Harrowsmith (now Harrowsmith-Country Life, I think) addressed
this issue in 1987:
"The Freshness Illusion" by Bryan Jay Bashin. HARROWSMITH. Volume 2, Number 7.
I really appreciated the responses to Jennifer Bokaer-Smith's query from the
growers and truck drivers who had first-hand, pracitcal responses and
Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems