a story of Southern agriculture

FarrrTHUR 17 – Label Mysteries Explained

Recently I was making a cake – a Farmer birthday cake – and I needed the cherry on top.  So, I went to the baking aisle where the maraschino cherries live.  My hand hovered with indecision for I was at Publix and had more options than Aldi.


Oh, praises to US agriculture and international trade from which my choices flow.


I was going for the bright red ones – those are the ones my Farmer likes.  BUT then I noticed the especially detailed label on the jar next to the bright red maraschinos.  It said “gluten free” and was not bright red.

A slow smile spread across my face.  I chuckled softly.  I felt a slight amount of mischief deep in my funny bone.  I snatched up that specially labeled jar of cherries and headed for the check out with a grin…

…not because I felt emotionally affirmed in my decision to buy a “better” product

…not because I was convinced those cherries were safer

…BUT because I had recognized and seized the opportunity to pull an agriculture joke on my Farmer.


I could just hear him as he looked at his cake without the proper cherries.  “What are these dark red things?”

I would respond, “Oh, those are gluten free cherries, Sweetie.”

“Gluten-free cherries?  Gluten.free.cherries?  Isn’t that the way they’ve always been?”

“Yes, my Farmer, cherries have always been gluten free.  I just thought you might like the reminder.”  And I would bat my eyelashes and smile sweetly and probably get smacked on the backside as he walked out of the kitchen grumbling about his birthday cake being hijacked by a label.


Some traditional maraschinos with some specially labeled maraschinos.

Some traditional maraschinos with some specially labeled maraschinos on top of a Cherry Limeade Cake – see link for recipe!

Cherry Limeade Cake Recipe – from my favorite crock pot lady.

And yes, I bundt a lot.


Were we laughing at consumers?  No.  We understand that some want to know that no gluten is added to the cherries during processing.  Point taken.  But, from our experiences in conversations with consumers, many don’t know what does or doesn’t have gluten in it, but they’re worried about it anyhow.  They would find that cherry label helpful because of their lack of understanding of cherries, not because of the processing.   My Farmer and I had to chuckle at this jar of cherries because sometimes we need the comic relief from the food worry questions we answer.


Here’s the thing…Labels can be mysterious if we don’t know what they mean.  Add to that the current food concern trends, and you have an opportunity to choose fear or education.  When we choose fear, we start a cycle in our lives that can be hard to manage.

When we choose education, we chuckle in the cherry section, skip to the check out gleefully, race home with hilarious anticipation and hold a jar up in triumphant affirmation that we get it.  Really get it.

It’s a delightful and delicious way to have your cake and eat it, too.

So, what do cherries have to do with this beef label?  Good question.


Big Island beef crop3


I am suggesting that you go FarrrTHUR in agriculture this week at Janeal’s site.  She’s a PhD in Meat Science and a mom.  You’ve seen her here before when we talked about algae growing in Kentucky.

All summer she’s been demystifying meat labels.  I encourage you to go see what she has to say about the label pictured above.  From there you can link over to several other posts she’s written about other types of labels.  She knows her stuff, y’all.

When you’re done, you can buy your beef and smile all the way to the grill  We really do want you to be confident about your beef purchases.  There’s no need to have a forkful of doubt…

… after you work so hard to put food on the table

… and we work so hard to make secure nourishment our US normal.


Emily Grace


Do labels drive you crazy?

P.S. I’ll be back with the turnip shaking sequel next week.  Remember, my writing process is slow. 🙂


Wanna go FarrrTHUR?



14 Responses to “FarrrTHUR 17 – Label Mysteries Explained”

  1. carolynsteve

    Oh what a scrumptious lookin’ cake! I want to reach through the monitor screen and cut a piece for myself…a piece that included an artificially colored cherry, of course!



    • Emily Grace

      And I would cut you a huge, Calorie mocking piece and serve it up with ice cream and extra artificially colored cherries!! We must have cake! 🙂


  2. the south dakota cowgirl

    I was planning a similar post for this upcoming week! I found diced ham (I use it almost daily in my breakfast omelets) that has “gluten free” on the label as well. Hehe. I chuckled, because ham doesn’t have wheat in it. 😉


    • Emily Grace

      I find that system works for me, too, overall. But there are some things I don’t care what the label says. Live and let eat, and thank a farmer and food processor, I say! (:



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