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Keeping Up With Maury
Thinking Out Loud about Food
by Maury Feren

So people keep asking what is the secret to your longevity? How can I answer that? There are so many factors that enter into it. I wouldn't even dare to try to fathom it.

However, it does give me an opportunity to talk about some relevant things that might enter into it. Faith and God is really the thing that has carried me all through the years. I'm not going to expand on that because that is self-explanatory but I will discuss some other things at the sometime.

Having been involved in food in one way or another all my lifetime it is easy to look back at its relationship to this subject. First of all I am confident to approach this realistically. I do believe that the food we eat and what we are offered are different. I doubt that it is the same beef, the same pork or vegetables and fruit that we produce. I think they have different components that they once had. You may call them by the same name but they cannot be the same. Not when they have cows that they give hormones to grow bigger and to produce more milk. Pork the same, chickens too, caged eggs, fish in polluted water and on and on. We have accepted all of this and have said nothing as a society.

Genetically Modified Food which I accept may not be all that it's supposed to be. Another factor is the fast food that we consume. In my day restaurant food was special and was utilized only for special occasions. It was not an everyday thing. You could not walk into a restaurant at noon and see woman sitting at a table with their 2-3 year child eating the same food as the mother. Who knows how good that was? But that is not all. We are using much more fertilizer that may change everything I'm talking about. Did you know that potatoes, bananas, strawberries and corn are the foods that have the most pesticides?

Now we have a situation where we have begun to think of super foods. How many blueberries do you have to eat to get the benefits? Surely not a spoon full. Everything has turned around. Cranberries in the 50's were considered carcinogenic food in some studies. Today it is a health drink and is produce in quality because of its popularity. Our orange juice use to only be produced in Florida but today we only produce half of what we consume. The other half comes from a foreign country. It could come from Chile, Mexico or a Caribbean country. There are no identifying marks so no consumer knows.

We grow tons of apples domestic but we still import tremendous shipment of variety from Chile, New Zealand and other regions. The oldest staple variety has disappeared such as Johnathon's, Baldwins, Northern Spy's, Wine Saps, Wolf River, Roman Beauty's, Cortland's, and Greenings. Does that make a difference? Who knows? Today we celebrate Fugi's, Pink Lady, Granny Smiths and Gala. With dozens of other varieties that we have never heard of. My question is how did they graft them and what is the differencein what they bring in terms of nutrition. It is a science no one even dreams of talking about it.

We have been overcome with California agriculture. What do I mean by that? Once California began to produce an item it becomes so dominate no state can compete with it. All of the strawberry shippers throughout the USA have gone away. California dominates in head lettuce, green onions, fresh corn, and even rice. Florida is a big factor in tomatoes but that is another subject. There is no way to compete with these monstrous farms.

Then we go into flavor and taste. You would think that the fruit and vegetable growers in California would want to sale a flavorful and tasteful product. Instead we get tremendous volume in many items with only a smattering of good taste. Think of it? All that hard fruit not yet ripe enough to taste good coming out of California. We once had Great Stone fruit grown in North Carolina, Colorado, New Jersey, South Carolina, Georgia and other states. Today most of the production is sold locally which generally is a short season. We import 35% of our food it's hard to believe. Did you know that Peru is the main stay for asparagus? When the first Vidalia onions came out they were singular. Today we have shipments from Chile, Argentina, Peru, and other countries too numerous to mention.

Everything is turned around I'm not forgetting that Florida and Texas our big factors for truck garden produce. During the winter months Florida is the main provider for winter produce for Kansas City to the east coast. That includes Texas as well. California services the rest of the county from Kansas to the west coast. This is only a piece of the history there is so much more that I haven't even touched.

Tell me what is the cost of losing a whole generation of southern green eaters such as turnips, mustard, and collards. These are foods that once sold in car loads. Today we get a touch of it 2lbs packages or frozen food.

Just a final thought. Everything is packaged. Carrots that are tasteless and devoid of nutritive value. Lettuce and greens like spinach are packaged in bags that lose their benefits once they are opened and stored in the refrigerator. You take it from there I'll go on at another time.

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