Have you ever been shopping for fruit and vegetables in a grocery store and maybe passed over an apple or a potato because it didn’t have a certain look that apples or potatoes should have? I’m guilty of doing this too. We are always looking for the picture perfect fruit or vegetable when we are selecting food for our shopping carts.
I’m here to tell you that it’s OK to be ugly… well, it’s OK for your fruit and vegetables to be ugly. Contorted carrots, twisted peppers, and bent cucumbers are finding a new home in customer’s shopping carts because even though they don’t look beautiful they still have the same nutritional value as the pretty produce.
A few years ago, federal agencies began looking more closely at how much food was going to waste in the United States—decent food that could be helping to feed the hungry instead of landfills—and they were more than a little shocked. A 2012 study by the Natural Resources Defense Council estimated that retailers and consumers here waste 35 million tons of food every year—including 6 billion pounds of produce that goes unharvested or unsold because it doesn’t meet quality shelf standards.
Wal-mart and other stores around the US have been embracing the unloved misshapen produces and have been marketing them as “Misfits” and selling them at a discount as a promotional way to help the farmers sell their whole crop and not just the pretty produce. For growers, it has proved to be a profitable situation because even if they are making 10 to 15 cents for their misshapen products, it’s still better than plowing the crop under and getting nothing or letting it go to waste when it could feed a struggling family.
Next time you’re shopping for produce, don’t skip over the mangled, misshapen vegetables because you might be helping out a farmer sell his or her “less than perfect” crop and you’re still getting the same nutritional value out of it. So remember, when it comes to vegetables, it is OK to be ugly!
This information was borrowed from this article from Growing Georgia at http://growinggeorgia.com/features/2017/03/ugly-produce-getting-love-it-deserves/
Toole County Extension Agent