Not perfect but tasty

Don't waste marked food

Not perfect but tasty

If you buy Harvest Hub smoothie bananas you know that looks aren’t everything as marked skins do not affect the flavour of these nanas and we’re all about flavour.  Or Banana smoothie smallHarvest Hub lebanese cucumbers – on occasion they might be a little curly but every
delivery is tasted to ensure they’re sweet.

Natural marks

Sun, rain, wind and frost can mark fruit and vegetables without effecting their nutritional value.  Melons can have a patch on them where they rest on the ground while growing or some grazing and still be excellent eating.  Unfortunately good fruit and veg in Australia is often dumped, ploughed back into the soil, juiced or made into jam for a fraction of the cost it took to grow because many consumers and sellers expect fruit and veg to look perfect. They’ve been marketed this way so that Industrialisation of production can happen.

Different size – different shape

If fruit and veg can be produced the same size, perfect in look – never mind the flavour – then it’s cheaper to produce and easier to store for long periods, pack and deliver – ala large supermarket requirements. They actually have sizing boards to fit the fruit through and if not the right size – fail …. throw it away. We don’t ask our growers to do this sizing process and they pick what is grown. we indicate roughly what we would like but don’t force them to throw away their produce if they are wiggly or misshaped. We are more interested that they taste great.

The cost

Purchasing the perfect looking produce has a cost. Environmental and waste – the rejected fruit and veg that did not measure up to supermarket buying standards.  These standards are based on the produce withstanding extended storage, long distance haulage, forced ripening, fitting to required size. It has little to do with flavour or nutrition.

Limited varieties

The cost is also measured in limited varieties offered for sale or skip the local offer and import it – it’s all year round then and not seasonal.  Heirloom tomatoes,  for instance, do not hold up well to increased handling and long term storage.

Have you ever picked up a piece of fruit with a slight skin mark and put it back in favour of a spotess one? Thinking perhaps, it won’t be as tasty as the unmarked one?

Watery potatoes that look good but are picked too early to develop the vitamins and minerals of their mature counterparts and tasteless tomatoes are two compelling reasons why looks over flavour don’t work.  These industrialised growing practices are not limit what Australians eat.

How much is too much?

Did you know that Australians are dumping AUD$1.1 billion (US$1.12 billion) worth of fruit and vegetables in landfill each year? That’s between 20-40% of Australian fruit and vegetable are rejected before appearing in your fruit bowl.

Why choose imperfect

Irregular shaped, marked or slightly discoloured fruit and veg are not sold by large retailers despite being flavoursome, and nutrient rich. Why? Demand is for aesthetically-pleasing produce – if shops put pretty fruit out the demand for it increases.

Fruit and vegetable skin, like our skin, protects what’s on the inside. A mark or two won’t affect eating quality and will mean less waste from grower to plate.  Like that book you can’t judge by its cover, or the saying, ‘Beauty comes from within’. Not perfect but tasty. Perhaps the goodness judgement is: flavour and texture over appearance.



OZHarvest, Harvest Hub and the UN Environment Program

Jayne (HH) Ronn Kann (OzHarvest) Anton (HH)

Jayne (HH) Ronn Kann (OzHarvest) Anton (HH)

Monday’s THINK. EAT. SAVE OzHarvest lunch at Martin Place fed more than 5000 people and featured a tagine, chapattis, and for dessert, Harvest Hub apples in a moreish crumble topped with breadcrumbs. (My idea of winter heaven.)

One third of food produced ends up as waste

The meal drew attention to how about 1/3 of food produced ends up as waste and this occurs on household, business, state, national and global levels.  If we could stop food waste no one would need go hungry.  The three dishes were made from food that would normally have gone to landfill but proved good enough to eat.

NSW households throw out an average of 800 000 tonnes of tucker a year – that’s 38% of most of our household rubbish and adds up to a loss of $1036 per household a year.  NSW businesses (including restaurants and clubs) throw out 340,000 tonnes of food.  See Love Food Hate Waste NSW Environment Protection Authority  

OZHarvest works to reduce food waste and in the THINK. EAT. SAVE campaign has joined forces with the UN Environment Program (UNEP) to redistribute food resources. The campaign also promotes considered eating, shopping and saving.  The benefits of the THINK. EAT. SAVE paradigm are many and apply to individuals, communities, and governments.  They begin with individual household savings from planning meals and snacks and shopping to specific lists made from these plans.  These meal planning and shopping habits when reduce waste, consequently saving resources that go into food production, including water.  They’ll ensure that there’s more food available to feed homeless and marginalised people, and to nourish a growing world population.  (Australia after all exports $24.3 billion worth of food in comparison to $10.1 billion of food imports. Department of Agriculture 2009-10 figures

Harvest Hub Local Farmers

Harvest Hub Local Farmers

OzHarvest delivers over 250,000 free meals a month across Sydney sourcing from hundreds of food outlets – wholesalers, retailers, restaurants and takeaway outlets – and turns this food into free meals that feed homeless and marginalised groups in our communities. Meals made from this food cost as little as 50 cents each to produce.

Harvest Hub provides between 100Kg and 200Kg of fresh fruit and veg to OzHarvest each week. These are leftovers as well as produce that did not meet our quality standards (but is perfectly good to cook from). In Sydney alone, the University of Western Sydney estimates that the $1 billion worth of edible food thrown away each year is equivalent to the income of all farmers in the Sydney Basin

Harvest Hub were invited to participate in the THINK. EAT. SAVE lunch and set up a stall among the OzHarvest stalls.

Harvest Hub take a slightly different fit with the focus on eating Local:

  • EAT – Local Produce,
  • THINK – Don’t Waste Food Miles
  • SAVE – the Sydney Food Bowl

As we address the UN Environment Program (UNEP) – the second Global Food Crisis – will mean that we, as consumers, shop mindfully.

Households don’t exist in isolation from communities and from food sources.  What we buy influences the future of our food and the character of our communities.  Fast food outlets have, for example, changed the Australian streetscape.  Food security for Sydney and Australia is key to Harvest Hub’s activities and we ensure it by supporting our local growers and by giving to our broader community .

At the Harvest Hub stall food platters emptied faster than they could be refilled.  The crowd tasted our Horsley Park Golden Beetroot,  (grower Steve Grima sliced the deep yellow beetroot at speed to keep up with popular demand), cherry tomatoes grown by the Kim family in Wallacia/Kemps Creek, Coffs Harrbour banana slices and perfect pieces of navel oranges from Tony Pirrotitino in Kulnura. Everyone ate an OzHarvest hot meal from surplus produce that would have otherwise ended up as landfill. (And it was excellent; the chefs and many volunteers made yum.)

Founder and CEO of OzHarvest, Ronni Kahn said the aim of Think.Eat.Save 2014 is to bring attention to the disturbing amount of food wasted in Australia and around the world, where roughly one third of food produced for human consumption (approx. 1.3 billion tonnes) gets wasted.  “Our modern day challenge to address this Global Food Crisis is to create a sustainable food culture that can be shared by all, where we waste less at all levels of food production and distribution,” Kahn said.  And we say, like she said.  We can’t say it better than that.