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Waste Not, Want Not

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The philosophy I grew up with. Back when you ate everything you were served, or went hungry. Back when food wasn’t engineered to be “pretty”.

I can’t help but cringe when I see obvious waste of good food. I had to write this post after a number of incidents that reminded me just how spoiled we have become. And how we turn up our collective noses at food that isn’t perfect.

The latest largest example was Larriland on Wednesday. While picking peaches, we looked over a few rows from the Coral Star peaches we were picking, to a row where a large pile of peaches had been “dumped”. Maybe a wheelbarrow overturned. But, for whatever reason, dozens of ripe peaches were sprawled across the ground, bruised and left for garbage (or seconds).

Whenever we go to Larriland, we see evidence of the waste. If something isn’t perfect, it gets tossed on the ground. For whatever reason, people seem to think that only flawless looking food is worth buying.

picking berries and peaches 001

It amazes me, what is wasted. Back when we went to the Amish picnic, and the farmer from Bellview offered us “seconds” from the fava bean harvest. Forty plus pounds of unsellable beans. Nothing really wrong with them, just small amounts in the pods, or a surface fungus.

csa farm visit and fava beans 025

And, then there is the constant reminder that wormy corn isn’t bad. That the worms come because they are sweet, and they aren’t liberally doused in pesticides to ward off the worms. I would rather break off the ends and have sweet corn with no chemical residue, than worry that a worm was chomping on the end of the corn.

My cucumbers are weird looking. They curl on the ends. These types of cukes wouldn’t sell in a market, or at a grocery store. There, we have to have waxed cucumbers, as if wax was something I really need in my diet.

csa week 10 2013 042

This weekend, at the Food Bank gardens, we saw perfectly good tomatoes rejected, because they had flaws. Really? Heirloom tomatoes aren’t desirable if there are flaws on them?

I just don’t get it. People go nuts about GMOs, but they brought it on themselves, by rejecting natural fruit and veggies that have flaws. The next step from hybrid seems to be GMO. Make veggies the insects won’t touch, so that they can be sold blemish free. Higher yields. Less waste.

Me, I will just continue to buy ugly fruit and veggies. Who cares about stink bug holes. Just cut out those parts. Once you garden, you understand, and have no problem eating “ugly” food.

Well, off my soapbox today. My chard in my frittata was ripped up on the ends. My tomatoes had spots that were cut out. My basil, the same thing. Cut off the mutilated edges and process.

It still tasted great.


About AnnieRie

Retired, I am following my dream of living in quiet west Howard County, a rural oasis, not far from the urban chaos, but just far enough. I love to cook, bake, garden, and travel. I volunteer at Howard County Conservancy. I lead nature hikes, manage programs and show children all the wonders of nature, and the agricultural connection to their food.

3 responses »

  1. I’m with you. Love John Dove’s salad greens, they have little bites on them which proves the bugs think it’s good enough to eat. I won’t buy something that is seriously moldy or overly bruised such that I can’t cut out much salvageable. But some bruises, worms on corn, weird shapes or a little shriveled end, that’s what happens on a real farm.

  2. I should have added — my mom was one of 12 kids on a small farm in SW Pennsylvania. Her dad, my grandfather, was a coal miner. It was not a luxurious life. They didn’t reject food because it looked weird, they cut out the bad parts and moved on. Thank goodness she raised me that way.


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