Real Food

Savor the flavors of everyday real food, fresh from the garden or stored on your pantry shelves.

Add to My MSN

The Price of Food and Oil

3/21/2011 8:51:31 AM

Tags: food prices, oil prices, Sue Van Slooten, food freshness, food quality, Sue Van Slooten

Spring is Coming by Bob Van Slooten

Going to your local supermarket can be a shocking adventure these days. It seems that no matter what you touch, the price has gone way up, sometimes at least 25% for certain items. Some people don’t understand why this is happening. We will explore the reasons, and also take a look at another phenomenon I’m noticing:  lack of freshness.   

First, the price of food.  Oil and food. They’re connected. Much more than you would think. The current crisis in Libya shouldn’t affect our food prices, right? Wrong. It has everything to do with it. Commodities speculators are pushing up the price of crude, due to the uncertainty not just of Libya, but the entire Middle East. That means higher prices at the pumps, which we’ve all been seeing. Ask any farmer. It costs more to run the tractors, equipment, eventually combines, anything that uses diesel or gasoline.  If you’re a farmer, especially an industrial one, this price usually gets passed on to the consumer, and goes all down the line until your produce, wheat (flour), sugar, or whatever agricultural product you buy, ends up in your grocery cart. It doesn’t end there. All processed foods are treated likewise of course, so the more highly processed foods will be even higher, like breakfast cereals, fast foods, whatever requires a lot to be done to it.

While I mentioned breakfast cereals, I’m now going to warm up to my favourite subject:  bread. The cost of grains has gone way up, particularly wheat. While oil is partly responsible, it’s also a case of droughts and bad weather. Anyways, I know you’re already putting two and two together, and you’re right. Flour is much more expensive, and where I am, it has doubled in price from just two years ago. If you’re a serious baker like me, you can’t but help notice the price increase on a bag of flour.  And it gets worse. A report just came out that the price of barley is hitting the roof. So why worry? Except for a pot of soup, where you could substitute something else, like rice (which will be up, or is), why is barley important? Answer:  The price of beer will also go through the roof, at least here in Canada, and I would expect, worldwide. Now that I’ve got your attention, you can see how the price of oil affects not just our food, but also our beverages.   

For the second topic of this blog, I want to talk about the freshness of one’s produce, particularly since about last September or October. I would appreciate feedback on this, because I have noticed a definite decline in the quality and “staying power” of any industrially grown fruit or vegetable. I first noticed it in tomatoes, but then later in salads. (I admit it: I hate making salads, so yes, I buy the bag or the box, at least in the winter.  Most naughty I know. Now that you know my culinary weakness….) Eggplants, potatoes, and even cut flowers aren’t immune, and produce managers I’ve talked to all have noticed it as well, and in some cases, don’t even want to put the stuff out there. Even our local health food store wasn’t spared.   

It would seem in my humble opinion, we’re getting squeezed from at least two directions here:  price and quality. So what’s a body to do? Grow your own. I suggest even a modest kitchen garden for starters, but a real veggie garden would put the proper tomato on your table, or whatever variety you have a predilection for, be it lettuce, herbs, squash, beans, all the good stuff. While it may not be necessarily cheaper (although that’s possible), it will be a heck of a lot healthier, and you know it will be superbly fresh. A good backyard garden will keep a family in fresh produce several months out of the year, even in Canada, global warming being what it is today. Now if I had enough space to grow some wheat!   

 

Photo Credit: Bob Van Slooten 



Related Content

High Gas Prices Got You Down?

Cam considers one of the causes of high gas prices....

The ANWR Answer?

Drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge will not lower gas prices anytime soon. This summary...

Better Living Through Chemistry?

Have you ever wondered why our food has become so industrialized? Where some of those chemicals that...

Two Fish Stories... and where's the Beef?

Cole's thoughts about fresh fish, with a recipe. Plus a neat way to order your prime rib.

Content Tools




Post a comment below.

 










Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.