The beauty of it all is in what you appreciate.
It is hard to pin point the exact moment when fruits and vegetables became glamorized. When did consumers become so vain that a blemished apple being cut up and cooked in a pie was not good enough? Was is the demand of the consumer or the beauty pageant standards forced upon us by big grocers? It could a little bit of both. We naturally all want the best, but what does that really mean?
Most of the produce we purchase ends up in a state far from the natural one it was initially purchased or produced. It is cut, cooked, mashed, diced, pureed, blended, baked, roasted or combined with other ingredients. So why is there so much focus on visual beauty? How are we so caught up on the marketing of looks when the most important feature should be taste. We do eat it after all.
I would much rather create with 2 legged garden carrots bursting with flavour than a picture perfect orange root that lacks the depth that home grown can deliver. Don’t get me wrong, I love pretty food and making gorgeous creations. Presentation and pretty produce does have it’s place.
Growing up we did not waste and we thoughtfully used what was available. Fall was a busy season in the garden collecting the bounty before us. My parents were without measuring tapes and scales to go through the harvest to discard the small potatoes and the misshapen carrots, the short ears of corn or the undersized onions. It was not rejected and not put to rot. With four kids to feed it was best to utilize what we had.
How did we evolve to this?
Produce that does not make the artificial grade often ends up in landfills. It must be demoralizing to the proud farmers who work the land because they love it and want to supply the population with nourishment. Coming from a farming background myself, I could not imagine what it would be like for hardworking family’s to throw out perfectly edible food when so many go hungry.
It’s about the economics of it all. As more attention is provided to this issue a movement is gaining momentum. Small companies are taking action by building up their business to pay the farmers for the remaining produce, take it to market and provide the option to consumers to purchase ‘ugly’ produce. What can we do to assist?
Support your local business who supplies this option when perfect presentation may not be a necessity. Who knows it might even taste a little sweeter.