What's More Natural Than A Bug?

Some people's food standards might be a little different then others.

Published on: Aug 1, 2012

It was back in college when I had my first brush with the realization that some people's food standards might be a little different from mine. Like when the girl from the suburbs handed back a glass of lemonade because "it has a speck in it."

"Really?" thought those of us living at 4-H House at the time, who'd offered up the lemonade. "A speck?" The girl was both horrified and disappointed that we'd offer her such a thing. We would've liked to have responded with a hearty "So what?" But instead we graciously served up another speck-less glass of lemonade.

In that moment, the farm girl in me recalled how we'd just spent the summer showing cattle with an orange cooler of water positioned on a bucket next to the showbox, and a tin cup turned upside down on top. When we wanted a drink, we grabbed the cup, swooshed a little water around in it to rinse the straw out, and filled it up. Everyone in the family used the same cup. Probably a few friends, too.

Whats More Natural Than A Bug?
What's More Natural Than A Bug?

Not the same in town

This all came to mind the other day as I watched a conversation unfold on Facebook. My new Chicago mom friend, Sara, had posted the following:

"Ok Whole Foods Market Chicago - there's organic broccoli and then there's broccoli crawling with small bugs in the frying pan after dousing with water. I think I'm over organic produce at the moment."

And I thought for a moment that, well, yes, of course there are bugs. Food grows outside and bugs happen and in an organic produce situation, you may well have bugs. So I shared with her my farmwife mother-in-law's time honored trick of soaking the broccoli in a bowl of saltwater – kills the bugs and floats them to the top. Works every time.

But then I watched the subsequent comments from her Chicago peers flow in. Some folks noted that organic doesn't actually mean that it's grown well and that Whole Foods is notorious for flying in Mexican organic produce. Some suggested she join a CSA or buy local. Great ideas, but again, bugs are gonna happen.