We’re throwing away tons of fruits and veggies for not being pretty enough

Anna Lee is a PhD student in the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources at Stanford University.

You can always tell when I’ve been munching from a bowl of tortilla chips because the only ones left are the perfect ones: all three corners intact, no folded edges, no giant air bubbles. The broken chips and burnt bits and crumbs usually lurking at the bottom of the bowl are gone. I ate them.

I like to eat the weird ones, whether it’s chips or cauliflower. I habitually seek the nonconformist food products: the intertwined “love carrots,” the kiwi twins, the apples with codling moth damage, the kale leaves that the cabbage loopers have nibbled. I picked up this habit while I was working on an organic farm in California, where we grew everything from strawberries to chard to sweet corn. When we harvested “seconds” — the perfectly edible, often slightly more delicious, fruits and veggies that weren’t quite pretty enough to offer to our customers — they went directly to our own kitchen, where we ate them with (or made them into) relish.

That farm was lucky to have a built-in community of people excited to consume the odd ones, but that's not how the rest of our food system works. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that high cosmetic standards in the retail industry exclude 20 to 40 percent of fresh produce from the market.

Source : washingtonpost.com