Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Wasted Food From Field to Refrigerator

It's certainly not the first time I've talked about this, but maybe it's time to review it. Food prices keep going up and incomes don't necessarily keep up with them. Some people have found themselves with limited funds to buy food, at least temporarily, while not able to take advantage of government food programs for various reasons.

If that's you, or you know someone who is in that position, there is hope. In the USA, food is hardly scarce and much of it is wasted, from the grower to the consumer and at all  points in between.

If you live in or near a rural area, it's possible to glean after the harvest. Today's huge machines are inefficient harvesters and leave as much as one third of the produce in the field. Simply ask the farmer. Some will allow it while some won't.

Transportation from field to processing plants often means onions, potatoes and other hardy crops scattered along the road. All you have to do is stop and pick it up.

Sorting and processing leads to more waste. There used to be a brand name pickle place near here that set out barrels where they dumped cucumbers that were too large or misshapen for their operation. There was nothing wrong with the cucumbers and the barrels were conveniently located. A potato processing plant would fill the back of any truck with rejects (too big, too small, too misshapen).

At the grocery store, produce is sorted daily and blemished or less than fresh items are boxed up and thrown away. There is often nothing wrong with the food at all. Smaller grocery stores will sometimes give you these boxes "for your rabbits (or chickens, etc.)"

And at home: Do you waste food? Do leftovers go in the garbage? Does food stay in the refrigerator until it's past safe to use? Do you stick it in the freezer then forget about it until you clean out the freezer, then throw it out?

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