Category Archives: Fresh produce

Only Child on the disappearing chocolate and other foods

Only Child's raspberry bushes (in part over to the right

Only Child’s raspberry bushes (in part over to the right)

Chives in  my front garden - here for now

Chives in my front garden – here for now

When we think of crop, vegetable and fruit damage due to “weather” we think of drought, too much rain and insect infestations. But it wasn’t necessarily a regular occurrence and the following spring and summer season, we would get out vegetation back. Either the perennial would grow back or we would plant another crop of wheat or barley.

Today, many of our foods are heading for permanent extinction and some of them are not what you would normally place in this category.

Foods such as bananas, maple syrup, honey and chocolate.

Yes, chocolate. Attention all of us chocaholics.

What are the culprits?

Let’s take honey first, as you’ve probably heard about this one. Bees make honey and it is the bee population that is shrinking. The culprit: Colony Collapse Disorder. It’s killed over one-third of the bees in the United States alone. Bananas are being felled by Panama disease.

Okay, so that’s pests and the like. But much of the shrinking food is caused by – you guessed it – the extreme weather we’ve been having the last 10 to 15 years. Those of you who have read some of my previous blogs on weather know who/what I think is responsible here. Suffice to say, I will quote the lady I talked to on a bus the end of May. She said, “God controls the weather.”

Back to the food. Considering all that is disappearing, we might be able to forget about dieting. But we might also have to forego being healthy. Back to the bees. They don’t just make honey; they pollinate a lot of our vegetables and fruits. Think: pumpkin, sweet potatoes, apples, almonds, blueberries, peaches, avocados, cucumbers, cranberries, onions, blackberries, grapefruit, raspberries and oranges. The list goes on.

What is one to do? Extract the seeds from the fruit or vegetable and plant it the next year, then repeat the process? If the plant grows, that is. I purchase seeds from a Canadian seed company that does not treat its seeds. What if it and other seed companies no longer had seeds to sell?

Which doesn’t help me with my two favourites from the above list – chocolate and raspberries. As some of you know I have a huge black raspberry bush which provides me (and my son, his girlfriend and my friends) with delicious fruit. I freeze the extra for winter use on cereal, or as dessert. The bushes started as three small half metre plants I brought from my Aurora home to my Toronto home when I moved in October 1998. What happens if the number of bushes decrease instead of increase? Or worse still, suddenly die off?

As for chocolate, that is not grown in Canada or the US but in West Africa (Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire). Chocolate substitutes such as carob just don’t feed the taste buds or my very soul. In my hallway I have posted a sign given to me by another chocaholic. The sign reads “Who cares what the question is; chocolate is the answer.”

So, what is our answer? I only know that whenever I see a bee – honey or otherwise – busy in the flowers, in the blossoms, I say a “thank you” and give the bee its space to do its business.

What do you think? Are you a chocaholic?

You can read more about this at http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2014/03/26/are-these-foods-doomed-to-disappear/ and scroll down to the links for other related stories.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under black raspberries, Fresh produce, Fruit, Only child, Rain, Weather

Only Child Grateful for Garden and Friends

Raggedy Annie guards Only Child's front garden

Raggedy Annie guards Only Child’s front garden

You’re getting some garden photos today. From this spring and summer. Friends’ photos coming up in a future blog post.

But both are connected in one way. I am grateful for both.

Let me clarify.

First my friends, my real friends, not the so-called friends like “Lois” who think they can control my life. On Saturday, my friend Bob picked me up at the Finch subway station. We were en route to Aurora for an old newspaper journalist reunion. While driving, Bob told me he was glad I was finding some peace with that church I had blogged about recently.

My first thought was “church.” I’m not a church-goer. I’m no longer Catholic or even Christian. Then my aging-brain kicked in. The Buddhist temple I had visited and meditated in during Toronto’s Doors Open May 23. I had blogged about it just after

https://onlychildwrites.wordpress.com/2015/05/26/only-child-finds-a-little-piece-of-peace/

 

Bob said that he knows I have been through a lot in my life and he was hoping I would find some peace and that might be with that church. I replied “I plan to go back but there hasn’t been time.” He said he hoped that I would. I’m planning to this Saturday.

Thank you Bob. I meant to tell you this on the way to Aurora, but the conversation got distracted and old minds sometimes operate like the proverbial gnats.

Bob and I have been friends for years. He was one of my first editors at one of the community newspapers I wrote for in York Region when I lived in Aurora (not quite in the grey ages – the latter is my school days). He has listened to me rant about everything from house problems to nasty people in my life (Lois doesn’t quite fit in that bad category, but the boarder that lived here from summer 2013 to October 2014 does), to – well you name it. He has also come to many of my son Martin’s gigs with the various bands he has played in over the years

The garden is my refuge and my delight (weeds and all – you don’t want to know the number of containers and bags of weeds and tree and shrub branches in the last yard waste pickup). As I daily pick the many black raspberries, pot plants, water potted plants and just sit out and enjoy the garden while eating meals or reading or just sitting, I am grateful. Sure, we have had a lot of rain, but it has eased off the last week or so. Some rain and possible thunderstorms due later today so I hope I won’t be eating my words here. But when I see on TV and the Internet all those forest fires burning out of control in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatoon and find out the number of people being evacuated, I guess we are pretty lucky here in southern Ontario, at least up to now. We have greenery, lovely flowers, and fresh food growing in the gardens and on the farms. Out west it is fire and smoke and air pollution and fear of losing your home.

The Weather Network showed a map of the fires and within listed the culprits causing the fires. The furthest east was “Person caused.” The rest were caused by weather (read “God”). The sense of justice in me wants the guilty parties to pay. But we’ll never find the person who caused some of the fires. My hope is that God will bring the necessary rain (sans thunder and lightning) to put all the fires out. And keep the wind away. Unfortunately, current weather forecasts show T-storms and wind.

Meantime, back in gardenland here, I will continue to enjoy my garden. But still keep a couple of wary eyes on the weather.

 

Cheers

Roses early summer in front garden

Roses early summer in front garden

 

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Family and Friends, Forest Fires Western Canada, Fresh produce, Friends, Gardening, God, Help and Support, Meditation, Only child, Peace and quiet, Raspberries, Weather

Only Child looks at new way of grocery shopping

vegetables-for-saleDo you like to pick out your fresh fruit and bread yourself at the grocery store? Do you hate crowded grocery stores and long line-ups at the checkout?

Loblaw has started a pilot project called “click and collect” to fix the former but you give up the personal touch. For a small fee, you can pre-order your groceries at certain Loblaw stores online using your smart phone or computer. But, you still have to go through Loblaw’s products online to choose, then go to the store to pick up your groceries, although the store’s personal shopper will bring it to your car. The scenario could even get as silly as you sitting in your car in the grocery parking lot and ordering your groceries from your i-phone. Doesn’t make sense to me. If I’m going to order groceries online from home, I want the store to deliver them to my door. I still have to pay extra either way. I also like to choose the fresh products myself. And what about if the store is out of a product that is not on sale. Can’t get a rain cheque for that.

When I was growing up we had three grocery stores within walking distance to choose from, although we lost one to a beer store. Still two left. Many people walked to grocery stores and wheeled their purchases in a bundle buggy. That’s what my late mom did except when she sent me to pick up a few things such as bread and milk. I made a point of shopping at Loblaw then because they had a huge magazine rack in the veggie and fruit department. I liked to stand there and flip through the movie star magazines and sometimes I even bought one.

After Dad died, Mom sold the house and we moved into a nearby two-bedroom apartment. I was working then so got into the grocery-shopping act. As I write in my memoir

I’m giving her part of my salary to pay for the food and with her help, I’m learning to plan menus and do a grocery list, based on the specials at the different grocery stores. I wheel the bundle buggy up the street to the IGA and sometimes if I’m early enough I don’t need the buggy – they will deliver. Or I go further up the street to the Loblaw’s. (Excerpted from You can Go Home – Deconstructing the Demons, Copyright 2014,  Sharon A. Crawford.)

Back then you ordered (by phone) from the Sears or Eaton’s catalogues and not food except maybe Christmas cake and candies. For groceries, you got off your derriere and went into the store, picked out your food, etc., went through the check-out and brought your groceries home. The only deliveries to your door were bread, milk and ice. Yes, I said “ice.” One of the neighbours down the street still had ice delivered – this was in the mid-1950s.

Methinks this new Loblaw’ trial project caters to people with cars, and smart phones, too. Although you can order from your home computer. But news flash Mr. Galen Weston Jr. and other big whigs at Loblaw’s. Many of us use public transit and our feet to bring our groceries home. If you are going to go the pre-order route, why not add in the delivery? Other grocery stores do – like Longo through Grocery Gateway.

Otherwise it is like having half the ingredients, half the service, half the experience.

And it is still work for the customer.

For stories on this new service go to

http://www.thestar.com/business/2014/10/24/loblaw_launches_clickandcollect_service.html

and

http://metronews.ca/news/canada/1164433/loblaws-preparing-drive-thru-groceries-pilot-project/

Cheers.

 

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under 1950s, Fresh produce, Grocery Shopping, Loblaw Click and Collect pilot project, Sharon A. Crawford, Shopping