Buying produce in Orlando

Last week I edited my delivery options with Orlando Organics. After having a few potatoes and sweet potatoes begin sprouting little plantlings because I hadn’t bothered to use them, I’ve switched up my delivery options to go with the “Fruits Only” bag. Fruit I generally don’t have a problem with eating before it goes bad, except for the kalamansi I get from my mother, or any other overload of citrus that we Floridians seem to often get from family members and neighbours.

Getting exclusively fruits from Orlando Organics is $5 more than the Harvest Blend basics bag I was getting, but I definitely would eat everything on the list this week: Anjou pears, blackberries, blueberries, Kent mango, kiwis, navel oranges and Pink Lady Apples (my favourite). What fruits I won’t eat fresh I can incorporate into a baked good of some sort, like blackberry scones, blueberry cake (with lemon), cookies with orange zest and apple crumble. On the days I don’t bake any snacks, an apple or orange should provide a sweet treat after lunch at work.

Cooking, though, I do sporadically. I don’t go into a huge production in making dinner for myself unless I have extra money (which is, sadly, rare), or if I’m fixing dinner with my boyfriend, whose evening shifts of late have often guaranteed a solo dinner, in which I have contented myself with some unusual choices for evening meals: scones were my dinner on Tuesday last week, and I’ve been known to eat cereal for dinner.  Pancakes, too. When I’m alone and I don’t have anything in mind for a meal, I often just eat what’s around, and what’s easy to make and clean up after.  When I do cook solo, I often cook something that can easily be the following day’s lunch (and perhaps even the day after’s), although the refrigerator I share with Clark is often littered with leftovers, and sometimes I don’t care to contribute to the avalanche of tuppers in the fridge.

So, regarding vegetables in Orlando, in the words of Bat for Lashes, what’s a girl to do?  With the reopening of the Audubon Park Community Market, veggies can be bought from the produce stand, but the selection varies.  Last week’s selection was rather minute in comparison to the past two weeks, although they did have some killer key limes which smelled like candy (I bought four).  The Winter Park Farmer’s Market has many vendors selling fruits and vegetables, but that market is so crowded, it’s kind of discouraging to have to fight your way through people and dogs in order to buy tomatoes.  I haven’t been to the Eola market in at least a year, so I may have to give that a go on a Sunday coming up to see what’s changed in my absence.

Of course, one can buy veg and fruit at Whole Foods and Publix, but sometimes, especially when buying organic produce, the produce looks as if it’s been on the shelves for weeks.  When I see the point of origin, with a few exceptions, many things aren’t local.  Do I really need apples from New Zealand?  Or Argentina?  Why should I buy these tomatoes from Mexico when I can buy these other ones from here in Florida?  Sometimes, it seems like a geography lesson in trying to figure out which location is furthest away, and going with the nearest (perhaps?) option.  

Buying organic can be enough of a headache, and trying to buy local can be even more difficult.  One can be struck with the dilemma of buying organic produce from California or Mexico, or buying local produce that isn’t organic, but took less gasoline to get from farm to store.  There are a few articles online about this: The Produce Riddle, Part 1: Organic Vs Local

There isn’t an easy answer for consumers wanting to do the right thing.  For an optimistic approach, we should just do our best and be conscious of where our food came from and how it got to the store or market stall.  As we continue to be more aware, it will hopefully be easier to deliberate while in the produce aisle.

Of course, there is always the option of growing your own food.  I haven’t quite made the leap to this yet, but I would like to eventually, and the Florida School of Holistic Living seems like a great way to learn how to grow my own tomatoes among other awesome things, especially in the Urban Homestead header (OMG, beekeeping!).

In the meantime, where do you go for produce?


One thought on “Buying produce in Orlando

  1. Hi! I am taking the Urban Homestead classes and love it. Cool plug!
    FSHL coordinates a local food co-op, it is all organic and all local. See the link I posted. Best!

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