Have you noticed lately that there's something missing in supermarket vegetables? It's flavour. As in many modern foods, flavour has been traded for the convenience of the producers. Large-scale farming and marketing do, of course, provide vast quantities of food for the world's burgeoning population, but it is important to remember that whenever quantity is stressed, quality suffers. Consequently, the flavour and nutritional value of your meals are reduced.
One major reason for these losses is the types of seeds developed for "agribusiness." These seeds are chosen for fast growth and high yields. The vegetables and fruits that result have tough skins for machine harvesting, sorting and shipping. Flavour and quality are secondary concerns. In addition, many vegetables — especially tomatoes — are harvested unripe to ensure safe shipment and a longer shelf life in the store. In fact, attempts are now being made to develop a hybrid, package-fitting square tomato.
In pioneer days, more often than not, towns and villages grew up where farmers tilled the soil. They were good farmers and chose the best soil. These towns and villages are our cities of today; still expanding, still gobbling up valuable farming land. As prime agricultural land disappears, as growers' costs keep rising, as transportation costs increase on a parallel with energy supplies and as supermarket boards of directors become more and more concerned with profit margins, we are going to see our food costs increase to the point of absurdity. The Victory Gardens of World War II were planted to raise unavailable food, and it seems realistic to say that in the near future millions of people will be using hydroponics to supply themselves with affordable vegetables and herbs of a quality that stores will not be able to match.
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