Ontario Agriculture

The network for agriculture in Ontario, Canada

For many years I spent my summers, filling 3 freezers with foods directly grown in our own soil.  What wasn't frozen was preserved.  Potatoes and carrots and onions were put in the root house to keep all winter.  When I cooked meals I knew there would be flaours in the food.

Sadly, because times do change, I am forced to purchase produce in the stores. 

So I ask the question, Where Has The Flavour Gone?  Tomatoes are in the stores, half ripe, and even if you let them set for a week they are tasteless and tough.  Potatoes are a disaster.  They are nothing more than fillers.  Onions, used to bring the tears immediately to a person's eyes.  On occasion you get an onion that will bring a slight watering, but I repeat only slight. 

I try to purchase Ontario produce.  It doesn't matter what store, it's all the same.  I often buy from roadside stands.  Same thing----no flavour.

Is the soil depleted?  Is it the very seeds themselves, which have had the good bred out of them?   Have our vegetables become just a fillers?  Is this why so many spices are being used in foods?I know my conversation thread will offend some, but I am serious and I find it alarming as our Ontario farmers compete with USA and other countries.  How can we return to good old fashioned Ontario farm produce that was second to none? 


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Wouldn't it be wonderful if one of the grocery chains would open up a section of the produce counter for vegetables grown from "Heritage Sees" and "Tubers"? If nothing else it would be an exercise to see which produce appealed to the majority of shoppers, whether they be rural or urban. Because many of todays young people have no idea what the flavour of a particular item such as a tomato should taste like, they do not visit famers markets and road-side stands.
Another classic example happened this week, when I was invited out for lunch to a private home. The frustrated young lady who was preparing a salad finally said to us "Can anybody tell me how to peel this tomato"? She ended up peeling it as you would a potato. It was the only way the skin would come from the tomato. Yet another time this week, at a restaurant I ordered a hamburg with all the trimmings. There was a full slice of tomato on the meat,and in the centre of the slice was the hard green core so common with today's variety and typical of what is being offered in the stores. The onion, was so bland, I hardly knew it was an onion. No flavour, no smell. Am I correct, that a few years ago there was a movement to produce onions without their distinct aroma. There is nothing like the smell of a good onion to give one an appetite. So I still ask Where Has All The Flavour Gone"---Is it the very seed itself which has been modified---is it the soil that is depleted----is there any hope of returning to our wonderful foods once grown? I fear the answer is no. It's a big world and our farmers are competeing and having to produce and harvest foods at a faster rate and in greater quantity. I also add, that nobody should feel offended when their is criticism given for a good cause.
It is hard to compete Taste for Taste with memories of meals/produce/onions in the past.....so the Good Old Days will likely never be beaten in this crazy world...

I do know that my Dad told me that during the Second World War, if they wanted fresh meat he had to go hunting and hopefully got a deer with the one bullet he had saved...rationing and they were poor on the farm. Only 70 years ago...

He also remembered the big treat at Christmas in the stocking was a navel orange from Florida...they were a real treat...

I agree with you that fresh produce, picked from our large garden...ripened on the vine or fresh corn off the stalk and boiled is hard to beat....

I do think that maybe flavour is the price we pay for our abundance and variety of food at ridiculously low prices.

Good discussion....

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