We recently returned from a short business/pleasure trip to San Francisco, California or as I now call it, Calorganica. Californians know everything about health and the environment. Don’t believe me; just ask one. For the California consumer, if it’s not organic, then it’s no sale. After a lot of out-of-state research I discovered there’s also a name for non-organic food—“affordable.”
For example, I wanted to buy a dozen eggs for breakfast; the first grocery store the in-car GPS directed us to was one specializing in organic foods. At the local grocery store back home we generally have one variety of eggs to choose from—white—they cost about $1.49 a dozen.
When you buy eggs in California you have to pay extra just for eating animal products in the first place. If you feel really bad about eating chicken offspring you can pay $7.99 to buy eggs laid by free-range, pasture-fed chickens eating only feed enriched with canola oil and flaxseed. These are really happy hens because they’re making 67 cents for each egg. They use the cash to enrich their diet with candy and soda from 7-11. If you don’t feel quite so badly, you can buy eggs from cage-free hens for about $3.00. Somewhere in the middle are free-range and pasture-fed hens.
After callously selecting the cheapest eggs, I also added a box of “Honey-Nut Os” to my cart. These of course are made with all organic ingredients, including honey. Apparently, organic honey comes from bees who only gather nectar from plants that have not been sprayed with bug killers. My thinking is if the bees came back alive then the pesticide wasn’t harmful. To enforce this requirement, bee police guard all the pesticide-treated petals from the organic bees. This costs extra and is reflected in the price of the honey.
Although many studies show that organic foods have no nutritional advantage over “affordable” foods, Californians sanctimoniously believe differently. At the Muir Woods café they offer a variety of dessert choices and all but one are labeled “organic”. When it was my turn to order I defiantly selected the only non-organic item; the brownie. Judging by the icy stare I received from the surly hippie behind the counter she must have thought I’d also brought my chain saw to the park with me. She watched me eat the whole brownie to see if I was going to suddenly clutch my throat and drop dead. I think she was disappointed when I didn’t.
According to recent studies, Utahans are happier and live longer than Californians. Some people attribute this to our abstinence from things like alcohol, tobacco and caffeinated drinks. I attribute it to our abstinence from looking down our noses at people who eat regular food and drive SUVs.