No, this isn’t a blog entry about indulging in eating live oysters; this is about freshly picked “living” fruit and vegetables grown on soils rich in organic matter and abundant in life.
I used to work as a “professional” horticulturist growing vast acres of tomatoes on hydroponic systems. The plants were grown in sand and watered with solutions that contained all the necessary nutrients the plants could need. Any weeds were controlled with weed killers and a weekly spraying of pesticides would keep the plants free of any bugs. Plants produced in this sterile lifeless environment might look good but I am sure they were lacking.
|Hydroponic tomatoes in sterile lifeless conditions|
|Tomatoes growing in our vegetable garden with lots of life rich compost.|
Now I am a small scale organic grower and amongst other things I regularly mulch my vegetables. As I fork the compost around the plants I am amazed to see all the different types of life crawling around; worms, centipedes, spiders and many insects I have no idea what they are. Then there is all the life in the compost and soil that you know is there but can’t see; fungi, bacteria, protozoa, nematodes etc. All this life or “biotic mass” is present in our organic soil living in harmony with the plants and making an array of different organic compounds available to them. The soil looks so healthy and full of life, and so do our vegetables growing in it.
|Healthy vegetables in a healthy soil|
I often look with concern at salad packs with a 15 day shelf life sitting under a neon light on a supermarket shelf. The salad leafs were probably grown on a sterile soil dosed with pesticides and then packed in a bag with a modified atmosphere. Can that really be healthy eating?
Here at the
hotel I normally go to the vegetable garden about four o clock in the afternoon
and pick the vegetables from our living soil. By eight o clock our team of
cooks has prepared these vegetables into an array of delight full tasty salads
and then the first guests start to serve themselves.
|Freshly picked vegetables|
|The hotel salad buffet|
Now that’s healthy eating.