Friday, June 27, 2014

Cheap Food.

I have long maintained that the food we buy is far too cheap and does not reflect the true cost of production,   the environmental damage caused by intensive farming,
All that waste!
plastic packaging and air miles.
And yet more waste.
Many workers that work on these farms are little more than slaves, work in appalling conditions, many live in shanty towns. This applies to some European intensive farms as well as third world counties. If the true cost was applied food would be far more expensive than it is, supermarkets would not be able dump perfectly good food, neither would the householder be so keen to dump food. The amount of waste from households is astounding, as is the amount that we collect from our shops.
Our pigs are certainly enjoying their very varied diet,
Strawberries from Wexford, OK, no air miles there but these strawberries were perfect, no mould and still had a day to go on the best before date.
 Mixed leaf salads from Spain, clearly we cant grow salad crops in Ireland, Mange tout peas, French beans from Kenya, both of which grow extremely well here, Raspberries, Bananas Blueberries, Passion fruit from Colombia, ready prepared fruit salads, bags of apples, amongst other things, far too numerous to name, all imported, and just about everything in plastic containers.
Perfectly good food, still in date.
 There was also perfect Garlic and Ginger, not suitable for pigs, we will pass the garlic onto friends, the ginger I have processed and we now have a lovely jar of ginger in syrup.
The fact that these shops can afford to dump perfectly good food and still keep their shareholders happy rather shows just how cheap these things are bought for, after all, supermarkets are there to make money. I just wonder how much the producers receive, barely a living wage, maybe enough to feed their family's, and for us to waste it is in my opinion a crime, but many people do not care where the food has come from or  how it is produced as long as it's cheap, yet I often hear comments of how expensive food is now, clearly not enough thought is given to where all these goodies have come from and just who has produced them, and under what conditions.
Years ago I was given a tour of an intensive vegetable farm in Morocco, this was a flagship farm, where conditions were considered good, I guess this term was used relatively in comparison to other farms.
Garlic success.
We have now harvested our Garlic, they are all big bulbs, forty eight in total, as long as we dry them properly we have enough for the next year.
A good harvest.
The tunnel grown onions have also been harvested, again they have to be dried properly before we string them, a good crop, with more to come from the outside grown ones which are looking very good this year.
The Strawberries just keep on coming, I have made as much jam as we need and am now bottling them. They keep their flavour very well this way, lovely with yoghurt during the winter months. Blackcurrants and raspberries are almost ready, as are the gooseberries, we wont have a shortage of soft fruit this year.
Life is not all work for us, although sometimes it does feel that way, we have had several trips out to interesting places,
Entrance to the ringfort.
one to a Ringfort which is very impressive,
The walls form a perfect circle.
with twelve foot walls

Another souterrian.
and several souterrians, we had tried to find this a couple of weeks ago when we had a friend staying with us,
Steps up to the defensive platform.
another few steps and we would have been there, still we have found it now.
Another trip was to the ruins of a castle that we had seen signposted a few days before hand, again, very impressive, but we have been unable to find out much information about it, other than it was a
It would have been a very impressive fortification.
Medieval fortress castle owned by the O'Garas who had the Lordship of Coolavin, in Co Sligo.
Remains of the entrance arch.
We both love exploring old ruins, imagining what  the people and their lives were like, most of the ancient ruins have a peace about them
Firing embrasure.
yet they would have been used against conflict, but some that we have visited still have a feeling of disharmony.
The rockery is a blaze of colour in just one year.


  1. My husband and I feel the same way you do in regards to how cheaply food is priced in the grocery stores. It appalls us how much good food gets thrown out. Here, where we live, we can not go 'dumpster diving' and take the thrown out food home to our critters. Is is a shame.

    I can not get over the harvest of your garlic and strawberries! I really enjoyed your photos of the castle. That is one of those things I have on my bucket list.

    1. Hi, it is nice to hear from you again and to see you back blogging, I was worried about you as you had not posted for so long, for some reason I can no longer post comments on your blog.
      Before we got the pigs we asked at our local fruit and veg shop and the supermarket about having their waste, they are only too happy for us to have it and we collect from the three times a week, we wanted to make sure before we got the pigs that we would not just be feeding them pelleted food, it doesn't make for the best meat, plus pellets are expensive, 18 euro for 25kg Organic feed. The pigs love their varied diet.
      Strawberries always do well for us but this is the first real success with the garlic so we are very pleased.

  2. The rockery s stunning!

    I agree about the packaging - Lugo is having an ongoing garbage strike and despite all the complaints, absolutely no one has offered a suggestion that generating less waste would be a step in the right direction.

    Ruins are so romantic.

    1. The only way is to refuse to buy stuff that is over packaged, years ago I and some like minded people refused to accept bananas that were in plastic bags, removing the plastic at the check out and handing it to the cashier telling her it was the shops responsibility to get rid of it, not ours. Now most of our shopping for food is done at the farmers market where there is no packaging. I just do not understand why people would buy ready made 'fresh fruit salad' ready chopped in in a plastic container, or ready chopped veg which accounts for a large proportion of the food we are given for the pigs.

  3. Just disgusting the amount of waste in supermarkets. It always gets me angry when I'm back in the UK. I know it's bad here too but it seems much more avoidable and to a lesser scale. The first of your two photos might explain why people are so apathetic and make such little effort to recycle or consider the environment, considering the scale of waste produced by supermarkets every single day. I'm not condoning it though.

    So,much,garlic! Brilliant. I put (possibly too much of) it in almost everything I cook. Strawberries looks gorgeous too. Here we've got lots of figs and cherries everywhere. My nephews and permanently purple lips, chins and cheeks whilst they were here.

    Castle looks very interesting and I bet it had a strange feeling there xx

    1. Is there such a thing as too much garlic in something? Not enough yes, but too much?
      The statistics on domestic food waste both here and in the UK is astounding, yet people complain that food is too expensive, or that they are hard up and can't afford good food, but they dump over a third of everything bought. As for the supermarkets, it rather shows how cheaply they buy stuff, screwing the producers, to be able to dump the amount that they do.

  4. Too cheap, too many air-miles and far too much waste. We need more people to realise that this food, more often than not, can be used in a variety of ways and we also need to ban shops from irresponsible disposal. I love the ring fort and castle.

  5. Even people who do realise that this food could be used wont do it. They see the words 'Sell By' 'Display Until' and 'Best Before' and do not seem to know what the labels mean. The only label that means anything is 'Use By' and even then in the case of fruit or veg much of it is still useable. The amount of food that households waste is shocking, but households and shops are not the only points that food is wasted, probably the highest point of waste is at the food production stage, where if it does not meet the criteria set by the supermarkets it just gets dumped, a lot of this food is produced in third world countries where people are starving.