Wonky Veg, Food Waste & Great Crops

Over the last 16 years we have seen a fair bit and although generally things are never black and white, one thing stands out for us as being just that: food waste. Whatever way you look at it wasting food based on aesthetics is immoral. We work really hard to reduce food waste, it is one of our core values. There are times when the quality just is not good enough and we will never ever compromise on the quality of what we send out. We will give food we cannot sell to our team members, or you may get a freebie or two in your boxes sometimes.

Stuff that really is not good for eating, either goes to our compost heaps to make fertiliser for our new food, or goes to Florence and George’s bellies (our two pet rescue pigs in case you didn’t know). But we grow our own food and so we have a very good understanding of what is ok and what is not. We make sure we harvest as close to packing the boxes as possible, we work with other growers to ensure we have the freshest best produce.

But there is one thing we never do, we never discriminate based on looks, on wonkiness. If a carrot is wrapped around another carrot, will we grade it out? Absolutely not, we will CELEBRATE it, If a potato is showing a little cheekiness well that is absolutely ok with us. In fact, we want vegetables like that. This ‘WONKY’ food tastes the same, it has the same nutritional value, it looks the same on our plates it has been grown sustainably on organic land.

It makes a lot of sense to us NOT to grade out vegetables like that. I guess we are pretty lucky that we do not have to conform to supermarket standards, that we set our own standards and we can do this because we know you our customers are ok with getting cheeky potatoes every now and again.

We know how hard it is to grow food and it is crucial to our planet to make the best use of the land available to us, and not throwing away food based on looks is a good start, at least we think so.

Last year we got our planting plan wrong, it is difficult to guage the market a year in advance, and ended up having to turn crops back into the ground. This year we have been a little more cautious and we hope a bit smarter with our time and energy.

This evening as I write, the sun is shining I have just finished my farm walk of checking the crops. The crops are progressing so well, the tomatoes look amazing as do the cucumber plants and the first lettuce, salad, celery, courgette, broccoli, kale, Romanesco and cabbage are well on their way, even the first parsnips, carrots, beetroot and outdoor spinach are poking their little heads above the soil.

Thank you for supporting our farm and know in doing so, not only are you contributing to reducing your carbon footprint, and reducing your waste burden on our planet, you are also contributing to reducing food waste and giving these cheeky potatoes a good home!

Thank you


PS we have some very exciting news! Our farm shop is finally opening next Saturday the 4th of June at 10am, we will have a farm tour at 12pm, and music, and children’s art, so come along!

Wonderfully Wonky

Last year Joe my son found a potato and I don’t know if I should be alarmed or encouraged by the fact he wanted me to put it “online”. Joe is 7. He found this unusual potato and he wanted everybody to see it and funnily enough it tasted just as amazing as any other potato, but it certainly would not have made it onto supermarket shelves.

Finding unusual shaped vegetables for me is like a bonus, if we harvest carrots and find one that looks like it has two legs, or one like this potato we found last year, then we are delighted. They are funny and unusual and like nature are not uniform. Is there anything wrong with mishappen or “wonky” veg? Absolutely not, they taste the same, they were grown in the same sustainable way. Then why do supermarkets reject pallet loads of them because they do not meet “specifications” of “size” of “shape” or of “visual appearance”? They do, and it is a tragedy of modern times that we feel it is ok to dump food based on appearance.

A recent report on the factors that are most important to consumers when it comes to deciding on whether they will buy fresh produce or not is how it looks. I fault not a single person for this, it is hard not to be conditioned in this manner with our current supermarket led food chain.

A very involved and complex system has been developed to give us picture perfect produce at the lowest possible price. The look of the produce, no blemishes, straight carrots, no knobbly bits, shiny apples, picture perfect tomatoes is one of their major criteria when deciding whether to accept or reject a batch.

The reality of working with nature and growing food of course is that it comes in many shapes and sizes. There is so much beauty to be found in producing food, and not just on the surface, certainly Joe’s potato makes the cut every time in my book.

What is more important? How something was grown, or how something looks?

Here is the thing then, supermarkets make a massive deal about selling wonky veg, eliminating food waste etc but in reality they do very little! There should be “no wonky” veg, no grading out based on how something looks, knobbly bits and all. But that is not the way things are. If all we ever see is clean shiny picture-perfect produce, how will we react when we see something that is different, will we think possibly there is something wrong?

What about dirty veg? We send out our carrots, potatoes and parsnips with dirt on the roots. It makes sense, it keeps the produce fresh and therefore requires less packaging, because we have you, we can do it, we like it, and we get the impression you just might like it too! Please tell us if you do or if you do not!

As always thank you for your support, the wonky veg say thank you too!