Circling The Wagons! But Around The Produce Dept?

Right on schedule, many frightened nations and religions are now circling the wagons. Again…! We usually do this in the vain hope it will stave off the enemy and save the day. Trouble is, it usually doesn’t.

Currently, well-intentioned political zealots calling themselves the Tea Party are circling furiously. Insisting what’s needed is getting back to the good-old-days of saving our money and sticking with our own. Many religions are doing the same. Insisting what’s needed is getting back to their original and very exclusive roots.

Both habits are intuitive. However, intuition can betray us as often as it serves us. Think of this the next time you visit your local produce department. Really! A green and red splendor of the good earth’s bounty. Fresh corn and cucumbers, lettuce and peppers, strawberries and bananas, along with bins of potatoes, carrots, zucchini, mushrooms, and watermelons. A spectacle of nature’s gifts from all over the world.

And that’s the point. You don’t circle any wagons here. Insisting “we only grow and buy our own.” Are you crazy…? No, you want the largess from every distant region on the planet. Which is precisely what makes up our magnificently-under-appreciated produce departments every day of the week. No circled wagons or exclusivity here. Bring it on, world. The more the tastier.

At this point the frightened may say: “I’m not talking supermarket vegetables, I’m talking national survival.” But others of us say: “The only way this old world has ever survived is by being open to what’s growing — and happening — across the rivers and oceans of our world. One of our proudest human achievements is the Age of Discovery when Columbus and the other boys broke out of the tight wagon train to search and scour that world.
Bringing us and the other encircled wagon trains a dazzling exchange of goods and good ideas that prevail to this very day.

OK, so the conquistadors turned out to be less than noble. But in time their efforts actually became so. Which is why you and I can behold so many amazing places and products and people throughout our amazing planet. Oh, and also behold one of the happy consequences: our phantasmagorical produce departments…!!

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  • I think I get your point but I have to ask a question. Have you ever looked at the lack green and red splendor in some of the countries shipping to the US?
    A few years ago during a visit to Mexico, one of our friends (native to the area, living and working there) took us to his local grocery store. This was a high-end grocery. The produce looked like the stuff we might find in a Chicago food desert local grocery. I, of course, asked what the heck was going on. His reply? "We don't get to keep the good things. They get sent to the states.
    I was saddened and silent.

  • In reply to Danie:

    Danie! It's true with many exporting countries. The rich importers get the best quality even at the expense of their own. That part of the global economy is another -- and more disturbing -- issue. But when you say :I get your point," I hope you agree that cowering behind our angry fears and shutting doors isn't the best way to save our country. Too many other empires (like Rome and the Brits) tried that to their regret...

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