How Far Does the Food You Eat Travel?

How Far Does the Food You Eat TravelDid you know that the food you eat travels thousands of miles before they reach your plate?

As a master chef, I’ve always made sure that my dishes are made of fresh ingredients. And so it is important for me to know how foods get to my kitchen. I once tried to check how these ingredients get to my kitchen and was astonished at what I learned. From the farm to your plate, an average American meal travels almost 1,500 miles. Whatever happens in between this long trip is for you to guess.

Expectedly, tropical foodstuffs such chocolate, tea, coffee, bananas, and sugar are grown and shipped from other parts of the world. But nowadays, even vegetables, fruits, fish, meat and other food products, that were once sourced locally, are being imported from other countries. This trend has become apparent because of the wide difference in the cost of imported and locally-grown food products. This is because some foodstuffs are more suited in certain parts of the globe and are thus mass-produced there.

While it could be economically sound, for us chefs, transporting foods at long distances puts a question mark on the safety and freshness of the foods. For example, fruits that have to be transported are usually picked unripe and once they reach the destination, they are gassed to “ripen” them. Similarly, vegetables are also sealed tightly and preservatives are used to avoid spoiling during the shipment. There are also vegetable and fruit varieties that have been genetically modified so they last longer and are less perishable.

Since I’m not sure what happens along the way, I see to it that the ingredients in the kitchen are grown locally. When it comes to vegetables and fruits, I prefer shopping from local farmers market. I actually have a neighbor who grows organic veggies at her backyard and I’m her regular customer. Inside her home, she has LED grow lights which she uses for growing delicate vegetables and herbs. I was actually planning to buy an LED grow light and have even checked Grow Lights Base (a review site for different LED grow lights). I haven’t found any stall that sells the freshest vegetables and herbs as my neighbor!

Buying foodstuffs from a local farmers market not only ensures that the foods you serve are fresh; it also supports your local food system. If you have a local farmers market, I really recommend shopping there. If you have a green thumb, it may even be best to start growing your own foods. This way, you are certain that the foods you serve your loved ones are healthy and fresh!