Where do the ugly fruit and vegetables go?

Organic gardening

I’m making it part of my weekly routine. On the weekend, I head out to the garden and harvest for the week and then do my weekly meal plan using the vegetables as inspiration. The garden is changing the way I think about food and I love that. With the above (amazing) harvest, this is what I made.

Organic Garden Meal Planning

1. Stuffed capsicum with flat bread chips

– brown onion, eggplant (pitta bread chips recipe here)

2. Moussaka

– eggplant, spanish onion (easy recipe here)

3. Silverbeet quiche 

– silverbeet, brown onion (based on this quiche recipe)

4. Sweet potato & pumpkin soup with flat bread

– sweet potato, pumpkin (based loosely on my slow cooker pumpkin soup recipe & served with easy flat bread)

5. Rhubarb & apple crumble

– green apple, rhubarb (recipe here)

6. Zucchini fritters with parsnip and carrot fries

– zucchini, parsnip (my zucchini fritter recipe and the I used found the fries here – my kids especially loved the parsnip fries)


This exercise got me thinking about imperfect fruit and vegetables. Where do they go? You can see from my vegetable stash, there are many items that would be deemed unsuitable to sell in the shops. The onions are small. Many of the apples have dark spots on the skin. The sweet potato was gnarly and small. Some of the silverbeet leaves had holes in them. And yet, all that earthy goodness went into fabulous food for our family!

I did a little research, and found in Australia, between 20 and 40 per cent of fruit and vegetables grown are rejected before they reach the shops because they don’t meet supermarkets’ high cosmetic standards and specifications*

This is true in the case of Donna Duncan, who grows fruit at Chinchilla in Queensland. She explained to the ABC that 20% of the avocados grown on their farm are rejected due to imperfections. 

This is not a unique problem to Australia.  I read a fact sheet from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) which breaks down food wastage into global regions and then into stages between pre-consumption (production to retailing) to consumption (food waste by the consumer) and the problem of food waste is wide spread. France developed a successful initiative to combat this, and I think it’s a great idea! Supermarket chains purchased produce usually discarded for purely cosmetic reasons, to sell in special aisles at a 30% discount.

I, for one, would be very happy to rescue ugly fruit and vegetables, and I’m sure there are many others like me out there.

I’ll end this with a thought from avocado farmer Donna Duncan, ‘They are not all perfect, but nor are we.”


How a garden is changing my life

Stage 1: Preparing a garden

Stage 2: Planting a garden

Toilet Roll Seedlings

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