The heat wave is really something this year (that’s how it feels every summer). There have been storms and a few weeks ago strong winds broke a branch of the banana tree that was already weighed down by a huge bunch.
Two of us adults had to lift it and carry it inside. We speculated on how long it would take to ripen them. We googled ways to ripen bananas naturally. I picked a few and packed them away in a brown paper bag with a couple of ripe tomatoes (it’s best if you have apples but I didn’t have them at this time of the year). Oh, that reminds me of the deliciously juicy green apples you can get in the hills by June end.
In the meanwhile I got to making as many things as possible with raw Bananas. Banana chips were a favourite with the kids. Then came raw banana fritters and veggie made from it. As the bunch ripened, we got to distributing them, graduating to making milkshakes and lastly many, many batches of banana bread.
The storms also brought down mangoes from the trees in the house. There were a few rounds of mango pickle, then sour chutneys and the sweet version, some dishes that neighbours and relatives suggested and finally mango shakes and ice cream.
It’s quite exciting to be getting fresh fruit and last year I realised (after a bounty of mangoes and home grown veggies) that the taste is really different from the produce we buy from the market.
While we started a small vegetable patch we also made sure to scout out more local vegetables. As it is, because of the strict lockdown last year, there was a glut of fresh vegetables in the market since the nearby villagers could not go very far to sell them.
Talking to the vegetable vendors I also realised that buying local means fresher vegetables, with their nutrients intact because they haven’t been lost in transit and lesser pesticides and other chemicals used to preserve their freshness.
I know I am also supporting the local farmers even if in a small way. It can understand that it makes some difference because I talk to the people who get the vegetables from their own small farms or landholdings in the villages. And this connection with people I wouldn’t know otherwise enriches me with a knowledge of their lives.
In a way it’s thrilling to not choose what you are going to eat today but depend on which vegetables your vendor is going to get, all of which is guaranteed to be fresh and seasonal. It’s also making me more resourceful.
I know that buying local has a positive impact in the environment. There are fewer pesticides involved. Fewer transportation means a lower carbon footprint. In fact there’s something called food miles, the distance our food travels when it reaches us. The greater the miles, the more adverse impact on the environment. Local foods are mostly organic, if used for local markets and there aren’t many artificial ripening processes involved.
We really enjoy buying the litchis, mangoes and jamuns right from outside the orchards. Sometimes they even pluck the fruit right in front of us. Frankly, now that we can connect with the food we are eating, we can appreciate the hard work that goes into growing it and the people who are dependent on them for their livelihood.
It is said that buying local can help protect genetic diversity. Some fruits like the loquat and shehtoot and bel are not available commercially very readily. We are fortunate that we can source them here, if not very often, atleast once in a while.
Hopefully, when we buy these veggies and fruits we encourage the green spaces people have in their backyards and large vacant plots. My vegetable vendor frequently gets vegetables that he says have been dropped in by someone or the other who just had a lot of vegetables in his garden and couldn’t use it all.
Going local can make a difference on an individual level that becomes a movement when more of us practice it.
This post is part of CauseAChatter, and I am talking about Environment.
Also posted for Blogchatter Half Marathon.