I’m a product of a grocery industry that determines the shape, size and color of the fresh foods I eat. That is ridiculous, isn’t it? Why do my tomatoes have to be round? Why do my carrots have to fit into a 10-inch long plastic bag? (Well, I guess we can’t blame the grocery industry, right? They are just giving the consumers what they demand.)
I grew up and lived in the United States for my whole life, so I never saw misshapen produce in the supermarkets. Unusual shapes and sizes came in the garden, and–I’m sure it’s no surprise–the flavor doesn’t change just because of the shape. I grew the carrots below in my garden, and they were tender, sweet and delicious.
I know in America we have a bit of idolatry surrounding perfectionism–even down to fruits and vegetables. That perfection worship became crystal clear when I moved to Bahrain, where perfect produce is not a value for most people. It was an eye-opener when I first saw so many misshapen and imperfect items for sale in all the stores. For three years, we have seen stores full of beautiful and crazy-shaped fruits and vegetables.
I purposely buy the craziest specimens I can find, for I want to make sure our supermarkets keep carrying these beautiful, perfectly ugly and healthy foods.
For More Reading
Imperfect Produce – Buy “ugly” produce for half the price in the Bay Area in California, and they will deliver it right to your door.
Just Eat It | A Food Waste Story – A documentary film
National Geographic “How ‘Ugly’ Fruits and Vegetables Can Help Solve World Hunger”
NPR – “To Tackle Food Waste, Big Grocery Chain will Sell Produce Rejects” – They may market them as the ‘underdogs’ of produce.