Thanks to war-time research and American know how, growing up in suburban mid-century America I would be the happy recipient of a veritable bushel basket of sun-kissed, vitamin rich fruits and vegetables.
No other country we were told “has the good fortune to enjoy such a varied, appealing and wholesome diet”.
And no, we did not have a plethora of farmer’s markets, green grocers or organic community food co-ops; in fact today’s locavore movement- the notion of eating what is produced locally local and shunning what isn’t – would have been laughed at.
Most of the farm fresh goodness I would experience came courtesy of Birds Eye Farms ( quick frozen for quick serving) and the verdant Valley of The Green Giant
No matter the season, I could always enjoy cans and boxes of good tasting, fresh-from-the-pesticide-sprayed farm flavor of fruits and vegetables.
Old McDonald had A Suburban Farm
Quick frozen or in cans, dried or powdered, when it came to fruits and vegetables it was like having a farm in your own back yard, which funny enough I did.
Like so many other housing developments of the time, my ranch house sprouted up on what had once been one of hundreds of potato farms that dotted Long Island.
The original farmer, Mr Gutztsky who looked remarkably like Mr. Green Jeans on Captain Kangaroo, held on to a small plot of his original farm so that in fact for many years instead of rows of split levels houses, there was an actual working farm behind us.
For a while there were the early morning rooster alarm clock, the stray clucking chickens in the backyard and even a horse poking his nose in an open bedroom window.
Whatever connection of being back to the earth my city-bred parents originally felt, was in just a few short years, eventually totally bulldozed away when farmer/businessman Gutzsky sold the last of his acreage to developers.
Better n’ Fresh
Actually preparing fresh vegetables seemed as out of date as the horse-drawn plow used on the farm we usurped.
Why bother boiling and peeling and mashing those plentiful local Long Island potatoes when Instant dehydrated flakes were so much easier.
But the abundance of all those local russet potatoes did not go to waste.
They came in darn handy in creating an extended family for Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head, with plenty o’ little tater tots to go around.
A Ripe Idea
Naturally from time to time, we did enjoyed the wholesome goodness of fresh fruits and vegetables straight from Mother Nature herself. The produce section had been set free of the tyranny of the seasons and become global in its choices.
Even with the proper refrigeration the problem with these gold mines of health was that they were always so gosh darn perishable, but once again American scientists came to the rescue.
Why wait for lazy Mother Nature – when miracle sprays would force all the fruit to ripen and like magic, change color at once.
In this new, fast-paced jet-age, who had time to wait for vine ripened tomatoes?
Why wait till the end of summer, when with a healthy splash of ethylene gas those rock hard green tomatoes of yesterday suddenly would become today’s garish red ones, conveniently packed in styrephone trays encased in plastic, just ripe for tossin’ in the salad.
It was a Post War Promise kept – “You can have fresh fruits and vegetables tonight…..even if the calendar says no.
The reason- Flavorseal protection.
Developed by research scientists, Flavorseal was a solution which was sprayed in a thin waxy film over the surface of freshly harvested citrus fruit, tomatoes, cucumbers and other produce helping the products stay fresh and wholesome longer for your enjoyment.
Flavorseal, they boasted, slowed down the natural deterioration of the fruit or vegetable…preserves its original freshness flavor for many extra days or even weeks!
More food to eat- less to throw away.
Was My Face Red
Food could be kept fresh from the vine for months.
Believe it or not the ad claims this gorgeous red ripe tomato was picked ripe from the vine 30 long days ago!
Harvest wrapped in Goodyears miracle wrap Pliofilm– “a marvelous new transparent moistureproof, spoilageproof wrapping material that seals in natures goodness and seals out natures gremlins. ”
To drive home the point Goodyear boasted that tests made by the University of Florida Agricultural Experiment Station proved that “Pliofilm has a way with fruits and vegetables that lets them keep their natural goodness, flavor color and vitamins for weeks and even months after ripening.”
And toss those ripe tomatoes in wilt-proof lettuce. Imagine lettuce, we are enticed: “keeping its head– and its crispness, and color and flavor- for 30 days after leaving the garden” thanks to Pliofilm.
Yes, it was always harvest time in our household, no matter the season. And thanks to science, it was not just canned and frozen vegetables and fruits- but fresh, rot-resistant tomatoes, fresh frost resistant strawberries year ‘round!
The future of good nourishment was well protected!