Ugly fruit & veg is the belle of the ball

Provenance Bunched CarrotsWith food waste so much in the news recently we wanted to find out more about the standards that are applied to the fruit and vegetables that we buy, and how non-standard or ugly fruit & veg are handled.

On our quest for the truth we spoke to Darren Vowles a buyer at greengrocers A. David & Co, to find out who decides what makes it onto our chopping boards.

Cheddar Warren Farm StrawberriesWe discovered that the unrealistic standards applied to fruit and vegetables in terms of size, shape and colour etc. by some supermarkets don’t apply when you buy direct, either from a farm or via a wholesaler such as A.David & Co.

This is because the only standards they need to adhere to are those of the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA). This reasonable list of requirements includes the things you’d expect like clean, fresh, intact, not over or under ripe etc. However, it does not include things like uniformity of shape, size and colour, as insisted upon by some supermarkets and which can result in perfectly good fruit and vegetables going to waste.

parsnips“As long as our fruit and veg meets the DEFRA specs then we can supply whatever our customers want and, as most of our customers are chefs, they’re more concerned with how the produce tastes than how it looks” explains Darren.

This is great news for the event catering and hospitality business as a whole, as it means that businesses that source their products locally are not imposing needless constraints upon growers which result in the unnecessary waste of otherwise good quality produce.Beautiful Carrot

So whether it’s a three legged carrot or a wonky swede, we love them all the same and whatever shape and size our fruit and veg comes in our amazing kitchen team buy what’s seasonal and local and always create something beautiful!

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