My wife and I just made a road trip to Wisconsin to pick up another load of blacksmith shop tools and household items from their storage place in a friend's barn. Along the way, we spent the night in a motel and ate at their breakfast bar on the way out the next morning.
I always hate those breakfast bars because everything there is usually pre packaged in far too much plastic and styrene, but it's there, it's 'free' and we're in a hurry, so we drop our usual standards of food quality and move on. After a little discovery, I believe we'll be much more careful next time.
We picked up a couple of Dole fruit cups to eat with some yogurt. We read the label, and the sliced pears in light syrup passed our basic test of ingredients by containing no high fructose corn syrup, and minimal ingredients consisting of the following: pears, water, sugar, ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and citric acid. The label also stated that the package was manufactured for Dole Packaged Foods Corp, ... Westlake Village, California. Karen ate hers, then noticed some writing on the side of the plastic cup. It says:
PACKED IN THAILAND"
Karen asked the question, "So we don't have pears here?"
Apparently ours aren't cheap enough, my dear.
So, how can they grow a pear in China, ship it to Thailand, process and package it, ship it to the US, and get it to a motel in Oglesby, Illinois for less than an American grown and processed pear? The answer is that someone or something was exploited along the way. For the life of me I can't figure out that level of the economy, but as a result of this discovery I have clicked my food shopping quality filter up a few notches. I don't want to eat food that has traveled that far and has come from a place with potentially lower standards for food processing.
In fact, I think I'll start processing my own pears and begin to take my food supply with me when I travel. How difficult can it be? After all, there was a time when travelers didn't have 'free breakfast' bars at motels. WWL&CD??*
Be careful of what you eat, grow any food you can, and what you can't grow yourself, try to purchase locally or at least regionally.
*What Would Louis & Clark Do?