Above: Farmers markets and organic produce abound in Italy, where wholesome ingredients are a quintessential part of the Italian life style.
If you’ve ever been to Italy during summer, then you know that the tomatoes taste so much better there.
There’s a reason for that. And it’s not because Italians use gardening products to make their fruits and vegetables more robust or more flavorful.
In fact, there are a number of reasons why produce seems to taste better there on average.
- Italians food shop and cook seasonally. Tomatoes come into season during late spring and summer. No self-respecting Italian would serve you a tomato during the fall. At the end of summer, Italian families peel, seed, purée, and bottle their tomato crop (or they go buy tomatoes at a farmers market).
- Farmers market abound in Italy. Nearly every Italian city has a weekly if not daily farmer’s market where the growers sell their produce directly to families. The good news for us Americans is that more and more U.S. cities have farmers markets these days. Just Google your city’s name and “farmers market” and you might be surprised what you find.
- Italians prize organically grown food. Organic farming is just starting to catch on here in the U.S. But in Europe, it’s been popular for decades now. In fact, Italians see organic farming not only as a way to deliver better-tasting and more wholesome food. They also view it as a civic responsibility. If everyone farmed organically, i.e., without the use of chemicals, the world would be a better place for our children and our children’s children, goes the logic.
Americans are still fundamentally challenged when it comes to buying top-quality, fresh, and organic fruits and vegetables.
If you don’t have a farmers market in your town, look for CSA or Community-Sustained Agriculture programs near you. These programs, which have popped up across the country, connect farmers directly with consumers.
And, of course, more and more these days, even the major chain and national speciality super markets carry more and more organic foods.
Food shop like an Italian! Not only will your food taste better, but you’ll also make the world a better place!