There was a time when I believed in the word ‘natural’.  The same thing goes for ‘no preservatives’ or ‘farm-fresh ingredients’. I also used to get excited when I would walk through the grocery store and see ‘free range chicken’ or an idyllic image of a farm scene on packaging. Those items were in my cart in a flash.  I used idealize myself going to the farmers market and seeing real farmers selling real fruit or vegetables that they grew.  I used to picture in my mind the kids that had to be woken up at the crack of every loving God on a Saturday in the summer to pick the strawberries and beans and apples and cherries like I had to do, growing up on a farm, and would smile at the fact that things were now coming full circle and I could buy such treasures at the market.

I started not trusting packaging claims when the french version of the word ‘natural’ started appearing.  I mean, what does ‘au naturale’ have to do with natural?    Does having the french version make it seem more fancy?  Or just more expensive?  And why should a small country in Europe decide that au naturale was more important than my growing up on a farm and really knowing what natural, meant?   Skepticism?   You better believe it.  I know what’s natural.  Natural is going to the orchards after school to work to pick up ‘drop apples’ and sticking your hand in a bee hive (the really nasty bees have hives in the ground) and running away like a sissy so you don’t get stung.  Natural is putting together ingredients that make sense and that your parents or grandparents or great-grandparents used because it’s all they had. And they work.   Natural is not relying on the latest buzz ingredients or pesticides or exotic ‘found this in the great barrier reef and it magically erases wrinkles’ ingredients because, frankly, home-grown and made in the USA products works just as well.

So let’s find stuff that truly is ‘au naturale’.  Things that are cooked or served plainly.  Things that are natural in style or condition.  Things that we are proud to put on our NUDE bodies.

Let’s make ‘au naturale’  become ‘awwwwwww!  Natural!!”   And mean it.

With love from Grand Haven,