A little lesson about freshness:
I asked my man for a wheatgrass juicer for Christmas this year, which he dutifully bought for me. I immediately went out to my local produce market and bought a bag of wheatberries, envisioning a harvest within a couple of days.
Well, I waited and waited and waited and after a couple of weeks I had wheatgrass but it was scraggly and sparse and just not at all what I see at my local juice bar. It was pathetic and unusable.
A few weeks ago my friend Joshua, who is a natural foods chef, came over to do sort of a food consultation. He was teaching me to make quinoa and when I pulled my box of Trader Joe’s quinoa out of the cupboard he said, “You know, you really should buy everything in bulk. Not only is there less waste, but everything sold in bulk is fresher and more nutritious than stuff that has been sitting around in a box for God knows how long.”
Earlier this week when our third attempt at growing wheatgrass failed we nearly threw in the towel completely. But then I remembered what Joshua said and on a lark I trotted down to the health food store and bought a bag of wheatberries from the bulk bin.
Within a day they looked like this, with nearly every kernel germinated:
Later that same day, they looked like this:
Today, they look like this:
OK, fine, Joshua, you were right. And it does make sense. If our food is traveling huge distances to get to us — Byron remembers that the first batch of wheatberries we bought were from Greece — it is losing the life inside of it as time passes. I wouldn’t buy fruit from Greece for precisely this reason, but for some reason I never thought about it when it came to beans and grains, which we buy a lot of.
Not only was there no box or bag to dispose of (I can bring the bag back and reuse it next time I buy wheat berries) and no biofuels required to ship it but the quality is clearly superior. It makes sense; a store is only going to carry in bulk those items that it sells a lot of and which move quickly. Lord knows how long that bag of wheatberries was in the produce market before I picked it up.
This wheatgrass is a different animal completely that the first batch, lush and healthy and a shade of green that puts Emerald City to shame. It even creates its own dew, right there in my laundry room.
This is a lesson in localism that hadn’t occurred to me before. Isn’t it fun to learn something new?