“Always buy the ugly ones”— that’s the mantra of the farmers’ market aficionado, and has been for some time now. Even if you don’t spend every weekend perusing the rows of Jerusalem artichokes, Japanese salad turnips, black Spanish radishes and other curiosities, you probably have a friend who does, and that person has certainly bent your ear at some point about the virtues of seriously fugly fruits and veggies.
Misshapen squash, repugnant peppers, frumpish pumpkins: These edible iconoclasts are the undiscovered gems of fresh produce, equally nutritious and sometimes even tastier than their spotless, indefectible counterparts.
Or, at least, they were undiscovered.
Now, the affection for unattractive edibles appears to be spreading, transcending its usual realm of folding tables and collapsible canopies and planting a flag squarely in the place where such farm-grown freaks are typically cast aside: your local supermarket.
The about-face follows public pressure by the activist group EndFoodWaste.org, which has been lobbying supermarkets to abandon their hang-ups about appearances in the hopes of curbing food waste, a huge problem, especially in the United States. According to the group, more than a quarter of U.S. produce is junked before it even reaches store shelves, and retailers’ focus on looks is a big reason why.
Before declaring victory, however, the anti-waste crowd still has one tremendous hurdle ahead: Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, has yet to adopt a similar policy for its unsightlies. If and when it does, then the hideous-eats movement will have officially gone mainstream.
Just remember: Your farmers’ market friend was buying this stuff before it was cool. Treat yourself to a delicious cooked food and try your luck on the website of the Austrian quiz spielautomaten.