If I had to list two staples in my kitchen, garlic and lemons would be pretty high up there. My husband firmly believes that there is no such thing as too much garlic and I tend to agree. And lemons, well, they are just so damned useful; in both sweet and savoury dishes, or in a much needed after work tipple.
So, what's the problem with lemons? Currently Australian lemons (and limes) are in season, so it's pretty likely they're quite cheap at your local supermarket, and good quality too - not disappointingly dried up when you cut into them. However, a lot of the time, the lemons in the supermarkets are flown in from the USA. Yep, that's right, all the way from sunny California or Arizona. A staggering 15,000km from my house in Perth. I regularly refuse to buy lemons (despite their usefulness), if the tiny text on the sign at Coles or Woolies says 'Product of USA'. Not because I don't love America, I do; that wacky food, in humongous portions, and all the bacon.... but because, it's a lemon. And it's flown 15,000km to be in my supermarket. If that's not ridiculous, I don't know what is.
It's worth becoming friend with someone in your street who has a lemon tree. There's always at least one, and I have never met someone with a lemon tree who can even pretend that they have a use for all of their lemons when they are in season! Failing that, a proper greengrocer, or farmers market may be able to help. And as a last resort, both lemon juice and the zest (in a bit of juice) freeze very well, so stock up when they are in season.
At the rate we go through garlic in this house, it is on my shopping list nearly every week. My local Coles and Woolies occasionally have Australian grown garlic, but usually it has been flown in from China or Mexico. Garlic that comes from China has travelled 8,000km to get to me in Perth, and if it's come from Mexico, it's travelled twice that distance - 16,000km. Add to that the fumigation processes that all imported garlic is subject to to protect Australia's biodiversity, and the chlorine bleaching often used to make the bulbs an aesthetically pleasing bright white, and Australian grown garlic is starting to sound like a pretty good idea.
As I mentioned above, Coles and Woolies do occasionally stock Australian grown garlic, usually from the AGP (Australian Garlic Producers) range in pre-packed trays of four or five bulbs. Again, your local greengrocer or farmers market is your best friend. And I have heard amazing things about Patrice Newell Garlic, but unfortunately, living in WA, I have never been able to try it myself.
How do you feel about imported fruit & veges? Anything you flat out won't buy if it's imported? Or anything you make an exception for?