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From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: misc.consumers,misc.rural
Subject: Re: Swindled By Big Ag
Date: Sat, 17 Mar 2007 04:46:11 -0400
Message-ID: <>

On Fri, 16 Mar 2007 17:37:19 -0500, Gus <> wrote:

>Complaint Department I bought some of those xpensive plum sized
>"Strawberries." I tried a nice big red one. It had absoultely no taste
>except for a slight citrus acid taste.
>I thought I would do a test. I asked my wife to come to the kitchen but
>not open her eyes. Took a little doing but she did it.
>I persuaded her to taste something without peaking.
>She couldn't tell what it what but thought it might be a plum.
>That's the Globalist Corporate Farm for you.

<the rest mercifully snipped>

I've never quite understood why people make rants like this (well
actually I do - nothing to say but too ignorant to realize same).

Did someone hold a gun to your head and make you buy those berries,
Gus?  No?  Then what are you bitching about?

Before those shippable breeds were developed, strawberries, tomatoes,
etc simply were not available around here except during the local
growing season which in the case of strawberries is about 3 weeks.
Outside those 3 weeks we are sh*t-outta-luck.

Like you, I have a choice.  I can (and do) buy locally grown produce
when it's in season.  And I mostly don't buy the mostly tasteless
imported stuff out of season. But apparently the taste is good enough
to enough people that the demand warrants the stores stocking them.

Instead of bitching on the net and sounding like the dumb-*ss hick
that you are, why not just walk on by the display?  Unless you've
spent your life in a cave you knew that those things have practically
no taste so why'd you buy them?  How's that go?  "Better to remain
silent and be thought a fool than to tap on your keyboard and remove
all doubt."


From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: misc.consumers,misc.rural
Subject: Re: Swindled By Big Ag
Date: Sat, 17 Mar 2007 14:56:50 -0400
Message-ID: <>

On Sat, 17 Mar 2007 12:28:27 +0000 (UTC), enigma <>

>Neon John <> wrote in

>> Before those shippable breeds were developed, strawberries,
>> tomatoes, etc simply were not available around here except
>> during the local growing season which in the case of
>> strawberries is about 3 weeks. Outside those 3 weeks we are
>> sh*t-outta-luck.
> that's why canning & preserving were developed. those
>tomatoes you canned in August at full ripeness are pretty good
>in February :)

Of course, but then the thread is about fresh stuff.  If one can get
past the texture, frozen strawberries are quite tasty.  I don't
particularly care for the flaccid texture but sometimes when I'm
Jonesing in January for strawberries....

> i'm thinking of trying to dry some strawberries as an
>experiment. they freeze pretty well, & homemade strawberry jam
>is delicious (no high fructose corn syrup!)

I like freeze-dried berries a LOT better than frozen.  The texture
remains closer to the fresh product.  Of course, freeze-drying is a
bit challenging for the average person to do at home but the berries
are available on the market.  If you want a taste of 'em, get a box of
Special-K strawberry version, pick the berries out, hydrate them and
eat.  Good stuff.

Re high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).  I spent a couple of years working
for M&M Mars as a process controls engineer.  I spent quite a bit of
time with the food technologists figuring out how to economically
manufacture the nifty new products they came up with. Or more usually,
demonstrating that the product wasn't financially viable (a real
shame, in many instances).

Mars and many other companies have done double-blind taste testing of
HFCS vs sucrose.  Invariably the test panel fails to differentiate
between the two when they don't know which is which.  Equally
invariably, when they DO know the difference they prefer sugar.  The
effects of mind-numbing media.  If HFCS didn't taste good then it
wouldn't be used as much as it is, regardless of cost benefits.

> now that it's 40 years on into the off-season availability of
>fruits & veggies, a lot of people have no clue what the "real
>thing" *should* taste like. a 30 year old who's grown up with
>supermarket tomatoes most likely has only ever had supermarket

You don't get out much, do you?  Ever go to the local farmer's market?
Or the produce section of even Wal-Mart in season?  Our local
Wal-Marts, as do all of 'em, buy local produce (and strongly advertise
it) whenever it is available.  So do all the other stores but I picked
Wal-Mart because "everybody" likes to hate them so.

Ever get a seed catalog?  Heard the term "Heirloom"?  Those strains of
tomatoes and other veggies that your great-grandma grew before the
evil corporate ag conspiracy took over everything?  Even the
greasy-haired yuppies have discovered heirloom veggies.  Go to a Fresh
Market or other yuppy attraction and look at what prices they're
willing to pay.

> in a  corollary, i sell free range chicken eggs. i hear a
>*lot* of concern over how the yolks are so *yellow* or even
><gasp> *orange*! the yolks are higher than the pale, flat-
>yolked storebought eggs too. ew!

Undoubtedly eggs from chickens that eat bugs and feces particles and
other such stuff taste better than chickens raised on chicken chow.
But that method of egg production isn't going to feed the country.
"Factory" egg production is a balance between cost and taste, as is
all other large scale food production.

Given that pay hasn't kept up with inflation in my lifetime and given
the overburdening regulations any business has to undergo these days,
that food has remained as cheap as it is, is a remarkable feat.

Let's take pork.  When I opened my first restaurant 12 years ago I was
paying about 66 cents a pound for boxed Boston Butt shoulders.  When I
closed my last one last year I was paying around 88 cents.  What has
inflation and income done in those intervening 11 years?

Not only has the price gone down in real dollars, the quality has gone
up.  12 years ago a box of meat would contain butts that ranged in
weight from a couple of pounds to 10 lbs or more.  The bone would be
highly variable in thickness and sometimes so thin that it would
crumble during the BBQing process.  A real pain in the *ss to have to
pick out.

Now the cuts are almost identical, the result of selective breeding
and factory farming.  The bone thickness is uniform, as is the fat
content.  One can easily and mindlessly process the cooked meat to
remove the ones and prepare for serving.

Now one might (probably correctly) argue that "the meat doesn't taste
as good as farm-raised pork".  I might worry about that if I were
eating (nearly) raw pork, as I do with a nice rare steak.  But after
roasting over a hickory fire for 12 hours and after applying my
special BBQ sauce, the basic taste of the raw meat doesn't matter a

Now I can afford and do buy USDA prime corn-fed Angus steaks
originated from farms that use herds that haven't had all the fat bred
out of 'em. I cook 'em just enough that a Band-aid and some CPR won't
put 'em back on the hoof and enjoy. But most folks either can't or
won't pay that sort of price.  For the factory worker who's making
half what his dad did in real dollars, those factory farm-raised
$1/pound pork chops mean the difference between enjoying meat and not
having any at all.


From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel
Subject: Re: High Gas prices
Date: Sun, 18 Mar 2007 15:16:07 -0400
Message-ID: <>

On Sun, 18 Mar 2007 10:51:43 -0500, "RonB" <> wrote:

>I don't like the numbers on service station signs either.  But the fact
>remains that the inflation-adjusted price of gas today is pretty close to
>what it was in the 70's.  In those days you could buy a new, full-sized
>Chevy Impala for around $4,400 - and it was a big, luxurious car in its

Correct.  In fact, here's a place where one can play around with
inflation-adjusted prices

1975 was the earliest time I kept expense logs, when I started driving
long distance to work and back.  If I input 1975 and 50 cents (what I
was paying for a gallon of gas at the end of the year.), that comes
back as the present day price of $1.89.  Figure in the increase in
fuel tax which this calculation doesn't account for and the result is,
we're paying for gas today right at or maybe a little less than we
were in 1975.

What's really interesting is to go back to say, 1931 and input the
price of gas then, 19 cents (
In today's dollars, $2.54!!  Youch!  Shows just how ignorant those old
pharts are when they so fondly reminisce about "cheap gas" "back

Another revealing thing is how the price of milk changed.  Forty Nine
cents a gallon in 1931.  That's $6.56 a gallon in today's dollars!
Think about that the next time you feel the need to whine about
corporate agriculture.

This also starkly highlights the cost of regulations, especially
excessive environmental ones.  Relative to petroleum, dairy farming
has remained effectively unregulated.  Milk prices reflect the
unfettered economies of scale.  That gas has only managed to keep up
with the rate of inflation, IMO, reflects the "hidden" costs of

And before someone jumps in to note that milk has had price supports
and price fixing, that is true but so has petroleum over the years.
Irrelevant to this comparison since both nowadays are on the free
market, as much as it can be free in this country.


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