Friday, 4 November 2011

Fruity Beauty

Yesterday I heard two articles on Radio 4 that caused me to stop and think about the implications of the Urbane Forager project, beyond my family sphere.
A Large, Misshapen Pear Yesterday
First, in a belated rear-guard action against fruity fascism, Waitrose supermarket is now selling weather damaged apples at a reduced cost. This rather strange phrase also applies to ugly or misshapen fruit, which somehow doesn't conform to the current warped ideal of Fruity Beauty.
All Different All Tasty
Well, here at the Urbane Forager we have long recognised the fact that fruit, like people, comes in many shapes, sizes, flavours and colours. The world is a richer place for this; there are over a thousand varieties of apples in the UK alone. Some of my favourite apples are knobbly, russety or possess unique profiles. A quick glance at any of my Usual Suspects or Apple Matrix pictures illustrates this fact. As a society, we should be concerned about waste and in the current financial climate individuals and industry should be reducing it as much as possible.
Don't Judge Us By Our Skin Colour
Thinking about saving money brings me to the second news item that came shortly afterward. Once again, an expert was stating that families apparently cannot afford to buy healthy food and somehow end up eating crisps and junk-food instead of fruit and vegetables. It doesn’t take a genius to spot that this is a matter of education, habit and culture rather than just money. Various people including the well-meaning Jamie Oliver have attempted to address this very serious issue.
Better Than Crisps
Take a brief look back over this year’s blog entries and see the vast amount of fruit and nuts that we have collected - over 200 Kgs of apples for starters – all for free and all from within the city environment. Of course it takes a certain amount of time and knowledge to locate and pick fruit and that is partly what the Urbane Forager project is all about, to demonstrate what can be achieved, if you want and if you can be bothered.
Loads of Free Apples
As an aside, I called the Soil Society to ask if I could define my foraged fruit and nuts as “Organic” and so arguably, healthier. From my interpretation of their definition, it seemed that I could. However, they were unable to give me an answer at the time and this seemed to be because I was eating, not selling the produce (so I wouldn't be wanting to pay the Soil Society any fees), they failed to call me back but in any case, it makes no difference.

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