food waste

Let’s hear it for the uglies

Here’s a little sample of the carrot crop out of my back garden – aren’t they magnificent?

Okay, I’ve not prepared the ground properly and left my carrots to dodge the pebbles on their way south. And I could have been more diligent in thinning them out. Still, they’re more interesting this way, in my humble opinion.

As anyone who grows their own knows, vegetables straight out of the soil don’t look like the ones in the supermarkets. They’re odd shaped, warty, patched and bent, but of course they taste better. Supermarkets prefer their fruit and veg uniform because they look better under the lights, and because they’re easier to package and handle, but they’re not natural.

Worse, since you can’t train a carrot to grow straight, the only way to ensure the right number of straight ones for the supermarket is to grow more than you need and throw away the crooked ones. In the UK, we throw away 58% of the carrots we grow.

Perhaps, as more of us rediscover the simple joys of growing our own, the supermarkets will drop the vegetable fascism and start selling the uglies again. Let’s hope so – after all, if we throw away more than we keep, then it’s actually the straight ones that are the freaks.


  1. As well as having growth obstructed by pebbles and such, root crops also tend to do that in soil that is very fertile, like lots of fresh animal manure. The carrots will grow on the smell of it.

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