Saturday, February 24, 2007

Meat Not So Cheap

As the meat industry marks 125 years this week since the first export shipment of frozen meat, you have to wonder why we are paying the same prices as people in the UK. Despite the fact, that the meat has travelled 20,000 kilometres, a shoulder of fresh lamb sold in UK supermarkets costs NZ$17.10 per kilo, yet here in NZ we are paying NZ$18 per kilo. Diced NZ lamb is even cheaper at NZ$15.62 per kilo, while we still have to pay NZ$18 per kilo. A fresh leg of lamb though in UK costs NZ$16.23 per kilo, while we pay NZ$14 per kilo.
NZ exports 92% of its lamb, which leaves only 8% for local consumption - mainly unwanted legs, I bet.

Cheap as Chips

You would of thought with NZ been surrounded by the sea, that fish would of been one of the cheapest foods available to purchase, but it isn't. Snapper, one of the more popular fish has risen to $14.95 per kilo for whole fish. If you don't want to go to all the trouble of filleting the fish yourself, you can expect to pay nearly $32 per kilo for fillets. It seems that a kilo of whole fish after it has been de-headed and boned results in only around 350 grams of fillets. The bones & the head are the best part of the fish and make the best soup. You get to suck the eyeballs out of the fish head as well so buy a whole fish and enjoy. There are still places arounnd that wrap their fish & chips in newspaper.

Hot News

If you thought that chilli peppers, aren't all that old, think again. An archaeological study has discovered that chilli peppers (why they call them chilli is beyond me, as they are as hot as Hell) were added to change the flavour of other wise bland-tasting food, long before the construction of the first pyramids in Egypt. In fact they have achieved the culinary accolade of being the oldest known kitchen condiment after scientists found evidence that people were cooking with them more than 6000 years ago. Scientists used a technique that involved analysing microscopic starch grains found on cooking and grinding tools from 6100 years ago at two sites in Ecuador. Chilli peppers belong to the capsicum group but are technically classed as fruits.

Farmers Markets

No, it's not a market where you can pick up a farmer for a song, but where you can purchase produce & other goodies sold direct to you from the vendors. The markets have a code of practice, that says farmers / vendors may only sell what they themselves, grow, farm, pickle, preserve, bake, smoke or catch. The markets are intended to foster community spirit. You need to take along your own basket or cloth bags - remember you are been green - as some of the stall holders don't have plastic bags. The nearest market that I know of to where I live is the one called City Farmers Market, held at Britomart (behind the train station) in the central city area on Saturdays from 8.30am - 12.30pm. There are 32 Farmers Markets around NZ.

Northland Pineapples

If you thought pineapples were only available in yellow and could be grown only in places with tropical heat, like Queensland, well think again, because a Northland grower has set up NZ's first RED pineapple farm / plantation at Rangiputa. What can you do with a red pineapple ? Well, everything that you usually do with a yellow one except sit on it of course. It seems that pineapples are hardy little growers and can withstand drought, wind, full sun, shade or even a light frost, but in Northland ? I remember when I was a kid living in the north it was so cold in the mornings sometimes, that clothes left out overnight on the clothesline would be as stiff as a board. There's them growing pineapples of all things.

Off The Menu

Sugar laden soft drink, Spite is to be taken off all menus of a NZ fast food restaurant chain and replaced with artificially sweetened Sprite Zero. One small step for mankind, one big step for trying to combat the high level of obesity and the development of diabetes, especially in children - I don't think so. To me, it's not the wrong type of food and the drink that is the cause - it's the amount of food & drink that is consumed, that is the cause. The old saying of - you are what you eat, rings true. I eat all foods in moderation and as friends will tell you, I am as skinny as a rake. In fact if I took all my clothes off and stood next to the rack, you wouldn't see me. Come to think of it, you wouldn't see any of my friends either - all you would see would be their dust !!! (hehe)