There is an article in today’s Eastern Daily Press, saying that Waitrose are to start selling “ugly” fruit. This is not the same as the Ugli Fruit; they mean visually flawed or oddly shaped, it will be marketed as suitable for cooking and cost 50p to £1 less per kilo.
I suppose they will give their growers a reduced price too, but it is a big step in the right direction and far less wasteful of perfectly good food.
Last autumn, these carrots went down a storm in Al’s shop. Dug up from a smallholding down the road on the day they were sold, they were delicious and flavoursome, but would not have been considered of marketable quality by most shops or buyers. But round here, a premium is paid for “dirty” Fenland celery too.
The other side of the coin is that, apparently, quantities of strawberries are being shipped in from the Continent. One of our growers told the Sage woefully that he is being paid 20p less per punnet by the supermarket, as they will not pay more for British strawberries than they will for imported ones. This puzzles me, actually. I would have thought that, given a choice, some shoppers would go for the English ones, some for the cheaper ones, so why not give them that choice? Or else if the supermarkets, who make mind-boggling profits each year, care as much as they say they do, they could decide to make a big publicity campaign about supporting home-grown strawberries, even if it costs a few pence more. But if this price drop is reflected in other areas, I can see more growers giving up altogether. It has been a dreadful season this year, starting several weeks late as the weather in May was cold and wet, and then in June it changed abruptly to scorching hot, which means that some of the fruit ripens unevenly and is spoiled.
Until now we’ve been eating our cucumbers, sometimes two or three a day. But today I cut 8 for the shop. Some lucky Bungalothians are in for a treat. All of them were quite straight, which will give rise to a grumble or two. Al’s customers like the really curvaceous cucumbers.