Saturday, February 23, 2008

Where your food comes from...

It is my conviction that farmers as a whole are just as clueless as most consumsers about "where food comes from" and more to the point, how it gets to your table. As more consumers begin asking questions and calculating environmental costs, I think it behooves us in the industry to have something other than platitudes to respond with.

So, a few facts about orange juice and energy.
In the end, not-from-concentrate orange juice sold by the carton comes out slightly ahead of frozen OJ sold by the canister in terms of energy use. As a green consumer, your worst choice would be to buy juice that's been rehydrated by the supplier, then placed in cartons (such as Minute Maid Original). If you prefer juice from concentrate, whether for the lower price or more Tang-y taste, it's better to rehydrate it yourself.

What about squeezing your own OJ? Keep in mind that, unless you live in Florida or California (the nation's No. 2 orange producer), chances are those Valencias traveled a long, long way to get to your grocery aisle. And transporting enough oranges to yield six servings of juice requires nine times more cardboard waste than transporting a 12-ounce canister of FCOJ. [More of a short but succinct explanation of the OJ biz]
In the world of energy, there is no substitute for doing the painful math required to overcome the bias of our eyes and instincts. The problem is we only embrace this rational approach when the answer is something we like.

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