Almost every time that we have delivered produce to customers over the last year (whether for the Chorao Farmers Club, or for Yogi Farms), we are pulled into conversations about the falling quality of fresh food in the markets in Goa.
The parameter of quality that people mention changes from person to person. Some people stop us in the middle of streets to ask us when the grapes are coming (we delivered some that were brought by Green Goa Works from an organic farm in Sangli in 2011). Many others have called after receiving a box of the Chorao Island Farmers delicious organic Chorao Mancurad to say that they haven’t tasted mangoes as good for years. More recently we’ve had a lot of compliments about the fresh lettuce and salad leaves that we’ve been selling at outlets in Panjim.
But what sticks out like a sore thumb is the dissatisfaction that most people (especially of an older vintage) are feeling about the quality of food that markets are providing them. Younger folks, are clearly less sensitive, perhaps because the don’t have a previous high standard to compare with. We’re also hearing this from people at our kitchen gardening workshops, chefs in five star hotels, at local food security discussions and from people we meet at events like the Konkan Fruit Fest or when we travel across the country.
But how is this food, which is produced and distributed more professionally than ever before, is perceived to be the worst that so many can recall eating in their lives. The taste, freshness and variety of food that our markets are providing us just don’t meet their expectations and the standards of the past. If this is the overwhelming feeling that people have about their food, then why aren’t food markets adapting?