Stay in-season, locally grown

Vegetables are harmful! At least that is what the headline in the newspaper screamed. Beyond the headline for attention was the story of green onions being the common denominator of an outbreak of deadly hepatitis. Trouble is, the green onions weren’t the culprit but rather how they were grown and handled. And that these are out of season.

I remember visiting China in the early 1980s. Among the most amazing things I saw like the terra cotta warriors were farmers carrying “nightsoil” in buckets slung across their necks attached to a yoke.

The “nightsoil” was produced by the farmer’s family during the night and was used to fertilize the rice paddies during the day. The plants loved this rich, fresh, nutrient-rich approach to farming and it was a practical way for the families to get rid of sewage.

People in the area likely were mostly immune to the pathogens deposited in the fields as they had lived there for many generations. Problems happen when the plants are exported to different areas and countries, carrying the local bugs with them.

The bigger picture is not just about washing produce, but that green onions also known as scallions or “spring” onions aren’t part of the foods in our North Country during the fall or winter. When we try to change the natural patterns, the smallest things can cause big problems.

This time of year is great for soup and stews. The old ones would put bones in the kettle with just a little vinegar. This was not only for flavoring but also increasing the dietary intake of calcium in a highly absorbable manner. Native peoples sometimes would add a stone to the stew for the same purpose, though I’m sure it wasn’t too tasty.

Staying in-season, local to your area is a good thing to do. Local foods are fresher and reflect what we have to deal with here in our little part of heaven. Speaking of locals and calcium, one local lady had the bone densitometry test come back with a 12 percent increase in bone density from last year. A natural approach, algae-based calcium with strontium and local persistence — what a strong combination.