No Free Lunch



(Photo cribbed from

The Wall Street Journal has an excellent story today about the tortuous journey of chemical-contaminated ginger from China to the plates of Californians, where it is making people sick.

More evidence that cheap supermarket food only seems cheap.  The hidden costs are really ugly.

More reason to trust your local farmer, or even better, to go grocery shopping in your own backyard.  At least then, you have a good idea of what you’re getting.  Plus, trust me, the shopping experience is way more pleasant. 


  1. But I can’t grow ginger and other warm climate stuff. We need our Ag. Department to be more stringent in their review of food. Unfortunately, that branch of FDA has had its budget and staff cut under the present administration. I also do not like getting products that says “assembled in the USA. I was buying toys and trying to avoid the made in China stuff and what good is assembled in the US description? All the parts could have been made in China.

  2. Actually, there are gingers like Zingiber mioga that are hardy for at least us folks in zone seven. For everyone else, keep in mind that most gingers have a dry and a wet season. You can usually fool the plants into making tubers then dig them up and replant in the spring. I grow both Zeodary and Turmeric this way.

    If that’s too much work for you, you can also use the tubers of the native Canada Ginger, Asarum canadense, in the same way as asian gingers.

  3. Asarum canadense is a totally different plant from asian gingers(a totally different branch of the evolutionary tree for that matter); however colonists did use it as a ginger substitute because it has a similar flavor (thus the name). I think it’s a little more peppery and less sweet, but it could definitely work in the right dish.

  4. Incidently, I can’t also help but mention that there is a really bad B sci-fi movie called attack of the pod people that features ginger rhizomes. Everytime I see them now in the grocery store I can’t help but proclaim “Ack, a pod person!”

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