we took them for granted

Flathead fillets at $45 a kg! Rabbit at $32 a kg! Individually wrapped quinces in tissue paper @ $4 each in Fourth Village Providore. Figs 2 for $5. Excuse me! Quinces and figs were left to rot on the ground 30 years ago.

Growing up in Gippsland, flathead and rabbits were accessible to any old hunter-gatherer with a fishing rod, ferret and some local knowledge. My father in law, Frank Ferrari, bought rabbits at one and six (15 cents) a pair. No-one wanted rabbit – chicken was a treat. We used to joke about Kentucky Fried Rabbit, thinking that some cheating Yank was denying consumers their advertised chicken. Now the boot’s on the other foot with the bunnies bringing three times the price of low flying pigeon.

Unwanted cuts like ox tails and lamb shanks are now making the butcher a healthy margin as Master Chef fuelled enthusiasts serve trendy comfort food. We knew they were good, but assumed they would continue to be cheap and undiscovered. Don’t tell anyone about the lamb back-straps at $5 a kg or what a Moore Park apricot straight off the tree tastes like!

What else today is relatively less affordable and less accessible than it was 30 years ago? Consider water and petrol, energy and houses, mushrooms and passionfruit.

What do we value now that we took for granted then? Consider space and silence, family time and customer service, less choice and clean air. It’s interesting to see how making a virtue of the fact there’s no mobile phone reception at Corinna (an eco-tourism destination on Tasmania’s west coast), resonates with guests. A temporary escape from a wired and complex world!

We’ve seen a revival of home gardens and of course the farmer’s market phenomenon has caught on like wildfire (sadly to the point of opportunistic commercialisation in some cases). I reflect on the paradox of cocooning on the one hand and connectedness on the other, as we react and learn to cope with a constantly changing world, and as we search for authenticity over superficiality.

Many goods and services are becoming more affordable and accessible, but the interesting question is, “What are we taking for granted today that will be more valued in 30 years from now?” What do you think?


  1. I paid $4 a banana yesterday and there were $18 a punnet blueberries on the shelf… floods and frost have wiped out supplies of both.

    Particularly in our synthesised urban worlds it’s easy to take for granted the supply chain that happens in order to get to our shelves, often forgetting that the source is so dependent upon natural conditions. Getting a lot of joy out of window boxes of herbs and vegies at the moment… free and oh-so-tasty.

    Now I just need to work out how to grow my own sashimi…

  2. Son, you are spot on! grow your own, get the rod out of the garage and get back to basics. To your question about premium value in the future for things we take for granted now – fresh milk, drinkable water, meat (steak, chops etc), fresh fish and some are headed that way like electricity. Bax

  3. We have figs,mulberries and pomegrates. What do you do with pomegranites? We used to pinch them as kids. I guess I had more time and patience then. Water has always been too cheap. Back in the 60′s in USA I was stunned at the availability and use of water. I can’t remember the cost–just lots of it. Petrol was 18cents a gallon!
    We also, at Bundaleer ,have beauty and silence–just like Corinna.
    Old farts like me put a price/value on that. I don’t care if it inflates.
    I like looking at vegie gardens and window boxes -especially the ones children make.
    My grandchildren grow tomatoes and lettuce. We still go to the supermarket. It’s easier. We’re lazy and lucky that we can afford it. Oprah Winfrey said “Always look forward with hope and don’t look back in anger” –but maybe wistfully is OK !


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