More Than Just A Tomato
Look at it there in its tidy bin. Almost too perfect to be real. A gleaming red (or yellow, or purple, or green) orb of deliciousness.
You pick it out, imagining its flavor in all of its juicy sweet glory, and pay a bit of a premium for it.
Now its time to cut into it. A drizzle of olive oil, a pinch of salt, and a leaf of basil later you are ready to take your first bite. Down it goes, the perfect fleeting taste of summer. It's absolutely amazing.
What's even more amazing is all of the invisible features. Those ones you may not realize until far after that fruit has passed your tongue. For this tomato wasn't just any tomato, it was grown locally by your friendly farmer.
This farmer just so happens to grow organically and acts in order to build up the soil life and surrounding ecosystem. Compost is a cornerstone on which his or her agricultural empire stands.
Therefore, that tomato happens to have an edge nutritionally on any regular ol' tomato. That means higher levels of vitamin C and lycopene.
That extra few cents is starting to seem a tad more palatable.
Now consider for a moment how those farming methods impact your surrounding ecosystem. This farmer grows a variety of crops in addition to flowers and herbs that support beneficial insects. No pesticides were sprayed that might harm their populations either.
The soil at the farm has been built up for a number of years, deep dark luscious cake batter soil. In fact, there is more than 5% more organic matter there than there previously was leading to a 18.5% increase in the amount of water that ground can hold. Now more water is staying in your community rather than washing away.
Overall, this farm is contributing to the long term sustainability of your community and helping to build resilience to outside forces. By limiting outside inputs, costs are more controlled and held steady.
Perhaps the cost isn't so much different.
Finally, think about the relationships you have built since you began visiting their farm stand.
The recipe for the most perfect summer salad that your fellow CSA member Sue gave you.
The dinner party you had that nurtured your friends and family over a shared locally grown meal.
Or the farmer them self that continually reinvests their money in the local community.
Maybe that tomato is starting to feel like a bargain.
Thinking through the life of the food we place in our basket is so so important. The hands that grew it to the soil that gave it life largely play into the value that piece of fruit holds.