It has finally started raining Papayas at the farm after a long mouth watering wait. The feature image photo is the 2nd papaya we harvested from the farm. We couldn’t wait to start eating the first papaya last week and hence the lack of social media excitement. 😉
While the saplings were given free of cost by the agricultural department to us last June, we have had to put in a lot of effort to nurture, water and protect them. Just yesterday, we had a lone macaque sneaking into the farm and eating papaya leaves. Suli, Momo, our dogs and we have had to protect them into late evenings when our primate cousins make way from the forest to our farm. Several days, I would be tired and would want to go home. But Noushy would persist and wait till the last monkey has left the farm. All our efforts of the last are finally bearing fruit, literally. And there is nothing to complain – especially when you get fresh produce from the farm. 🙂
Organic food has been promoted as being tastier than industrially grown food, in additional to being environmentally friendlier and healthier. While I have had no doubt about the latter two differentiators, I always used to wonder how people and brands used to claim organic produce to be tastier. My MIL is an ardent fan and marketer of organic food – I think she might have superpowers to detect it. I can’t personally sense the difference most of the time, like most of y’all.
But, now that we have been growing food sustainably for the last couple of years, I have realized that it is the freshness of the produce which enhances the taste of the food. And of course, it is hard to overstate the role, chef of the home plays 😀 (Wink wink, @noushadya and @myamma)
Industrially grown food are usually monocultures using soil-polluting and water-leaching fertilizers and carcinogenic pesticides. They are grown at one location and transported over large distances after exchanging multiple hands or rather trucks. There have been several reports of how traders overuse carbides and copper sulphates to keep veggies and fruits fresh – it is mostly the norm and not the exception. Not only is this intuitively unnatural, studies have shown this to have hazardous effects on our bodies
Most people in the organic food movement realise the importance of freshness of food. So, they try and reduce as many middle men as possible from the equation so that the produce reaches customers faster. Flattening the food supply chain is one of the most important ways to give due to our farmers – they can make more money if customers buy from them directly. Even though the unit cost of operation goes up because of reduction in economies of scale, it is much more healthier for people because nutrition of the food starts reducing from the moment of harvest. While organic food inherently might not be statistically significantly tastier, the fact that it is usually fresher is what makes it tastier, IMO.
The gist is : The sooner you consume from the time a fruit (or vegetable) is plucked from a plant, the better it is for your taste buds, your overall health, for everyone involved and the ecosystem. Growing your own food is the best solution to achieve that. Sourcing produce from a farmer / brand who/that understands the need for fresh produce is the next best solution. 🙂
P.S. In photos – different papaya trees in various stages of growth. We have placed them at multiple locations at the farm. And we haven’t tilled the land in any of those placed. So the soil health is reflecting in the growth and flowering of the papayas. The irrigation style is also different in each case : floor irrigation, drip and sprinkler. We have applied cow dung compost and jeevamrutham every 3 months almost. The variety is called Red Lady and is a hybrid one. We would like to cultivate heirloom varieties whenever we can lay hands on the seeds next.