Have you ever actually thought about where our vegetables come from? Obviously, I know they come from a farm, but beyond picking out the best looking one in the produce section, I don't really give it much thought at all. So, when Monsanto invited me to come to the field in Felda, Florida to learn where vegetables come from, I thought it would be a cool experience, but I had no idea just how much I would learn!
I was never much of a vegetable eater, but when my doctor suggested that I eat a healthier diet to help with my Psoriatic Arthritis, I began to be more aware of what I am putting into my body. In an effort to be more healthy, I've made fresh vegetables more of a regular part of my menu, I try to buy organic when I can, and I've experimented with healthier recipes like Cauliflower Quinoa Bites. I want to be healthy, and that starts with eating right.
|I ate a pepper...and I liked it!|
One of the things that the people at Monsanto are trying to do is to make vegetables available to more communities around the world. The research that their scientists do helps people to be able to grow vegetables in areas of the world that would not have been able to do so because of drought or poor soil conditions. They are also helping to reduce the use of pesticides to limit the chemicals introduced into our environment and into our bodies.
It was so nice to meet the growers that are doing this work and to hear the passion they have for what they do. We learned about the challenges that farmers face in trying to produce high quality vegetables that consumers will purchase. A bad disease or pest attack can destroy a farmer's entire crop resulting in a loss of income for them and higher prices for us, the consumer. To try to help with this, the scientists may cross breed a tomato that can withstand the disease with one that can't in hopes of making it stronger.
|Grower shows us the color cycle of a pepper.|
This breeding is also done to get better traits like shape, color, drought resistance, and taste. If a vegetable like a pepper can be made sweeter and maintain its nutrients, maybe children might like them more and eat more vegetables at a younger age.
As part of our visit, we got to pick vegetables and taste them. Let me tell you, it doesn't get any fresher than that!
5 surprising things I learned on my trip to the field.
- I tasted a yellow Bellafina pepper, and I liked it! It was sweet and I ate the whole thing! Since I don't eat peppers at all, this was a big deal!
- I also tried yellow tomatoes. I wouldn't have normally done this because as much as I like tomatoes...I expect them to be red. Before this trip I thought if tomatoes weren't red they weren't done ripening. Wrong! So wrong!
- It was interesting to learn that farmers grow different varieties for different customers. Example: restaurants want tomatoes to have less of that gel stuff that makes tomatoes so yummy. They want the tomato to be drier, so they don't get the bun soggy. So, they buy a certain seed that will give them a drier tomato. I always just thought they had bad tomatoes!
- Watermelons in the U.S. are usually oblong and striped, but in other parts of the world, they are green and round. They still look the same on the inside and taste the same, but different cultures prefer foods to look a certain way, so the growers grow them to look different.
- Did you know that a green Bell Pepper is the same as a red Bell Pepper?! It starts green then ripens to red. I always thought they were different breeds of peppers!
|Mmmm tomatoes yum!|
I really had a great time in the field. I'm so happy to have got to spend time with some other bloggers, and the people from Monsanto. They were so friendly and welcoming. They answered many of my questions about what they do, the process of growing our foods, and helped me to understand some of the challenges in their industry. I am grateful to have been a part of it, and I feel so much better educated about the food I'm eating, and the positive changes being made to end hunger around the world.
Now, where can I get some more of those orange tomatoes? I'm hooked!
|A great day at the vegetable field in Florida|
|Seeing the inside of a tomato|
|Rows are irrigated with reclaimed water to be environmentally safe.|
|My husband got to come with me!|
Disclosure: Monsanto paid for my transportation so I may attend this event. I was not compensated in any other way and I am under no obligation to write about the event. All opinions expressed are my own. Read my full disclosure policy here.