I love to hear the words “organic” and “safe/healthy” used by self-taught nutritionists, especially the cable TV variety that hit the airwaves for a fast buck.
Recently, I offered bushels of chickweed and bittercrest to my organic produce-starved Facebook friends and they all turned me down. Most were mortified by the thought, I’m certain. What’s wrong with these people? Don’t we know that some broadleaf weeds are perfect substitutes for iceberg lettuce and probably much more nutritious to boot. I guess I’ll continue to forage away in my organic lawn, nibbling on organic weeds, and looking for more edibles that could easily disappear with a puff of weed killer. Chickweed, pokeweed, and dandelions quite possibly pre-date domestication of lettuces. I have heard that purslane is another good green to consume…but I had rather eat a slug.
I draw the line on collecting mushrooms in the wild(another organic vegetable) ; though I’ve grown shitakes and am fairly comfortable in spotting the benign types. I’ve heard of mycologists–fungus experts–poisoning their students with a misdiagnosis in the forest; so I’m not as excited about feeding the family toadstools and other saprophytes as foraging in a lawn.
Thank goodness for natural fungi, as some are now being used to poison garden insects (ie: organic insecticides.) And, good ol’ aflatoxin, a fungus found on moldy peanuts will kill you “dead as a hammer.” I know that’s comforting to peanut butter lovers !
We all take normal risks every day; so I will continue to drive my car and be amused at the natural health food experts peddling their green juices and elixirs;, and lambasting the “dead soil” left in the wake of modern agricultural production. (Personally, I trust organic growers about as much as I trust career politicians.) Speaking from first hand experience, an organic grower will apply about any chemical if he can save a crop beset with a ravaging pest problem…and I can’t blame them. Being certified “organic” does however give the public a bit of comfort; akin to a health rating at the local Mexican restaurant.
I am 100% behind buying produce locally to support our farmers, but not for the same reason as many. Clearly, I will be walking past the organic produce at the grocery store this week and saving the difference in my wallet, and thanking God that Americans have the healthiest food supply on our planet. Sadly, I’ll think about the poor and disenfranchised in Third World countries that work the dump heaps just for a morsel of food.
Happy “organic” gardening!