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Sending some love to our farmers

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Well there's only two words to describe the weather at the moment and that is HOT and DRY. We've all been sweltering and wondering when we'll ever see rain again. The grass is brown and crunchy and backyard gardens are starting to dry out... the forecast has been promising the odd bit of rain, but even that seems too far out of reach. What a summer we are having! 

So if we are suffering, spare a thought for our farmers and their crops- this is not the time you'd want to trade places! I just spoke with farmer Bruce who supplied us with those beautiful chemical free zucchinis, juicing cucumbers and watermelons last week... everything on his farm is sunburnt to a crisp and being plowed back into the ground- hes not had a day under 36 degrees for the past 3 weeks- he's been irrigating, but without some rain he just can't keep up... it's so dry he's waiting for rain before planting the new crops- and he's not alone!

Summer is already a tough time for farmers- a lot of produce doesn't like the QLD heat. Crops that really struggle this time of year are things like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbages and leafy greens such as lettuce and silverbeet. Farmers still grow these crops as there is a demand for them- can you imagine a summer without salad?!, but I think we need to drop our ideals a little bit... if you're hot, sunburnt and hanging for rain, no doubt the produce you are eating feels the same way too.

Have you ever wondered how the supermarket giants can have perfect looking produce that looks the same day in and day out? That produce has most likely been genetically modified to withstand the elements, or it's been sprayed with chemicals to alter its usual responses- chemicals that may make the skin of the fruit or veg tougher so it doesn't deteriorate for instance. Cold storage is another method where produce is stored for times when supply is low- and I'm not talking months in storage, I'm talking years... supermarkets ask a lot of the farmers that supply them, and they have no choice but to do what they're told. One of the unfortunate side-affects to us as consumers (other than the obvious impact on our health) is that it changes our expectations as to what should be deemed as 'normal' and what is classed as an 'inferior' product.

I'm always amazed when I talk to organic farmers, and their motivation for going organic- every farmer I have talked to can talk, and talk....!! They all have horror stories to tell about what goes on and as consumers it's all going on behind our backs. Bruce told me that when he was growing up on a farm, Round-Up wasn't classified as a poison, so they used to re-use the 20lt Round-Up containers for drinking water that they'd take out to the fields while working!!!!!! Makes you shudder doesn't it!

So next time you open your FROG box spare a thought for those amazing farmers trying to battle the elements so we have food and variety on our tables- farmers do their very best to grow the most awesome produce that they can- but no matter how hard they try so much can be out of their control and I think it's time for us to cut them some slack and send them some gratitude for everything they do- after all, their hard work is what keeps us healthy and alive!

On a positive note, summer will be ending soon and with it will come some gorgeous winter produce- cabbages will double or even triple in size, the leafy greens will be green and lush again and we'll probably forget summer even happened... it's not all that bad, I promise!!!

With you in good health,

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