Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Dream of Natural Foods
by Ms. Joseph (Parkchester resident)
Several decades have passed since my arrival in the United States, yet I can still remember, and sometimes dream of the abundant of fresh fish, meats, fruits, and vegetables available daily while growing up on “the land” as we called it. The word “farm” was rarely mentioned. It was “land” or “estate.” I, like many other children, was allowed to roam and what a time that was. We gathered mangos, guavas, berries, plums, and what other natural fruits we could find, not to mention the sugar canes, ripe bananas, papaws, avocados, oranges, grapefruits, and so on. Chicken, hogs, goats, cows, rabbits, or whatever the fancy, was killed and readily available for any meal to be prepared with a variety of fresh aromatic herbs and vegetables, grown around the house or kitchen. We had raw cow and goat milk and fresh eggs daily. Nothing was preserved. The butter, made from the cream of the rich scalded milk, was a natural with only a pinch of salt added. There was even an occasional bee hive that provided honey and bees wax to the joy of kids. It was always fun to steal a little piece of honey comb without getting stung by an angry bee. Boats went out to the sea daily so there was that daily catch of fresh fish and the springs provided sparkling cool water for drinking. Could anything top that! I don’t think so. My, how times have changed. Imagine the shock of moving to New York City and not being able to find that which I was accustomed to. I was introduced to the 116th St. market, where Caribbean produce could be found but it was not the same. Produce was not harvested early in the morning or overnight, neither was the meat freshly slaughtered. You see the food and produce I was accustomed to in my country was not grown with fertilizers, pesticides or chemical as preservatives. The only preserve was a little salt. The fertilizer the old folks used then was animal dung or manure as it was referred to. I guess that is what gave the fruits and vegetables that rich, succulent flavor a taste that can be identified right away.

I have now grown somewhat accustomed to the foods that are available here in the city, but if I had a choice, I would prefer nothing better than naturally grown, fresh food items over those readily available. I sometimes try to seek out freshly grown items at the farmers market when I am able to and what a difference in the taste. If you should get an opportunity to try fresh naturally grown produce, go for it, it is worth the price in taste and health benefits.

You see I grew up on an island now referred to as “Nature Isle of the Caribbean,” A small mountainous island, twenty-nine miles long and sixteen miles wide, and lies between tow French Islands Guadeloupe and Martinique. It boast a variety of natural attractions including deep river gorges, waterfalls, a boiling and fresh water lakes, and perhaps most famous for its tropical rainforests and volcanic origins. Do you know the island?
Answer: Dominica

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