In the world of kashrut (Jewish dietary laws), a good amount of attention is paid to the fine art of checking one’s produce for bugs. The reason, contrary to the more cynically-minded among us, is not pure neurosis. Jewish legal codes have been clear for centuries that a biryah (a creepy-crawly creature) is treif (non-kosher) and cannot be annulled by even a thousand times it’s volume in, say, romaine lettuce. Suffice it to say, this makes bug-checking of particular concern to the fastidiously pious. Some in the Orthodox world have (tragically, I think) gone so far as to ban certain bug-prevalent foods like fresh broccoli and raspberries simply because they are too difficult to sufficiently check.
A life in the city is so often marked by its distance from nature, certainly from the agrarian societies of our past. I avoid bug-checking not because I don’t care; kashrut is deeply important to me. I skip it because I suspect it’s been done. Some big machine somewhere double-washed my lettuce before sealing it in a plastic bag. Ironically, returning to the land returned me to my tradition whose purpose is, among other things, mindfulness of the natural world.