Mechanical harvesting= mangled mouse-thing in your salad.
Reminds me of this great article, Tainted Greens, which is about the atrocity that is industrial California agriculture. In the name of food safety, the presence of wildlife is being actively discouraged. Yes, that means tearing up habitat. It's true that some wildlife harbor E. coli O157, but they didn't get it magically. The real source has and always will be concentrated animal-feeding operations.
Money quote: "We don't like to see animals in a field of lettuce. We don't think people like the idea"- Jim Lugg, senior food safety scientist with Fresh Express.
Support a farm that integrates with the natural landscape instead of paving it over with monoculture. Last week I spent time at Anathoth Community Farm in Wisconsin. The fields where produce was grown were surrounded by a beautiful healthy north-woods forest. I was impressed.
Small farms are not the source of produce-related outbreaks, perfectly illustrated by the fact that when the produce industry instituted strict self-regulation in 2007, there were no more outbreaks. Hmmm.
Here in Central Illinois, early spinach is already available. You do have to wash it yourself, but that's a small price to pay.
Like a man, the farm is headed
for the woods. the wild
is already veined in it
everywhere, its thriving.
To love these things one did not
intend to is to be a friend
to the beginning and the end.
- Wendell Berry, Work Song