Farm to City
My neighbor down the street, Bob Pierson, is one of the smartest guys I know. He has an advanced degree in science, plays creditable violin and runs the Philadelphia Farm to City program. During the spring, summer and fall, Amish farmers bring their splendid produce to street markets throughout Philadelphia—wonderful greens, vegetables, fruits, tomatoes—oh, the tomatoes!—meats, breads, pies, and corn picked that morning.
Thanks to Bob Pierson, Philadelphians can have the best of both city and country.
At one point, Pierson and I got talking about raising chickens, and he told me that when hens get too old to lay eggs, some farmers grind them up and mix the mess in with the chicken feed.
I was revolted. Chickens are herbivores. Feed them chicken or beef and then eat their eggs—or the chickens—and who knows what will turn up in your brain tomorrow or 10 years hence.
Feeding chickens to chickens is not “doin’ what comes naturally.”
As a result, I buy only eggs that guarantee on the carton that they were raised cage free, were grain or veggie fed, and were not given antibiotics or animal byproducts.
Do I pay a little more? Probably.
But my chances of dying a horrible death from a yet undiscovered mad chicken disease are cut to nil.
Two days ago, I grabbed a small package of bananas that looked ripe at the local Super Fresh (A&P subsidiary). When I got them home, I noted how each one had a sticky label that proclaimed “Bonita, Ecuador, Organic.”
I would’ve done as well with a piece of cardboard or Styrofoam. The taste would’ve been the same and it would’ve been cheaper.
Last September-October, some 30 brands of spinach—a number of them “organic”—were pulled from the market because of an E. coli epidemic that hit nearly 200 people nationwide and caused several deaths and 29 cases of kidney failure.