Sorting, Classifying and the Heartbreak of Wasting Food

| 9/21/2011 12:36:14 PM

I waste a lot of food. I guess we all do when you read some of the studies that analyze how much food ends up being wasted. (There’s good article here about the subject;

But it seems to be worse for me, because it’s so in my face. There are the cauliflowers that are going brown in the garden because I missed the window to harvest them. There are the radishes that went to seed 2 days after they were at their prime, or the beets that are the size of small pumpkins and way past their best before date.

It’s also because we can’t possibly use or save everything that we grow. This year has been better because we were selling at the market, so we got a little more efficient in terms of harvesting and using stuff. At the end of each market day I would gather up the leftovers and drop some extras in to my best customers.

It’s fall now and absolutely the best time of year here. The bugs are gone, and the days are cool. I’m always amazed at how much more I can accomplish when heat doesn’t drain my energy. Our onions are harvested and drying on racks in the horse barn. We’re just about sold out of garlic. We’re gathering the squash and getting ready to put them into the root cellar. And I spend a great deal of my time harvesting potatoes.

I love potatoes. I think I could be a potato-tarian. If I could take just one food to a desert island, it would be potatoes. And I’m not alone. The United Nations declared 2008 the International Year of the Potato because: “The potato produces more nutritious food more quickly, on less land, and in harsher climates than any other major crop—up to 85 percent of the plant is edible human food, compared to around 50 percent in cereals.” What I take from this is that even if you don’t have great soil, potatoes allow to you to maximize the nutrition you get out of the soil by producing a healthy, long- lasting source of food energy. The fact that they keep so well with almost no energy inputs make them the perfect food for the future.

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