A north east Fife farmer’s wife is making a stand for the less-than-perfect-looking humble spud.
Disheartened at the tonnes of potatoes grown at her Crail farm being dumped or sold for cattle feed because they were too big, too small or had blemished skins, Gill Logan has set up a small business to give the wonky veg a second chance.
“We believe what’s in the inside is more important than the outside, which is especially true of a potato when it’s going to be peeled and chopped up anyway,” said Gill. “It’s the taste that matters not whether it looks perfect.”
Gill (40), of Kirkmay Farm, near Crail, and her sister, Jo Trust (34), who lives in Crieff, have started Still Delicious and have been delighted at the response in just a few weeks.
The pair were inspired to take action after chef Jamie Oliver last month spearheaded a campaign to rescue ‘ugly’ fruit and veg.
In their new Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast Channel 4 series, Oliver and farmer Jimmy Doherty joined forces with the national Love Food Hate Waste initiative to highlight the massive problem of food waste in the UK.
However, as well as tackling the mountain of food that consumers end up chucking in the bin, the programme looked at the tonnes of fruit and veg rejected by supermarkets and launched a campaign to get shoppers to buy crooked carrots, knobbly pears and wonky potatoes.
The programme revealed how lorry loads of fruit and vegetables grown by farmers were rejected by supermarkets because of their strict beauty standards.
“If most Brits had half an idea of the amount going to waste, they’d be snapping up ugly veg by the trolley load,” Oliver said. “There’s no difference whatsoever in taste or nutritional value. This is perfectly good food that could and should be eaten by humans.”
He managed to get supermarket chain Asda on board to hold a ‘Beautiful on the Inside’ trial in some of its stores to offer shoppers the wonky fruit and veg at a reduced price.
“We watched the programme and got to talking about what we could do, even in a small way, to prevent waste and the idea of Still Delicious came about,” Gill said.
The first step was setting up a stand at the end of the farm road, doing home or work deliveries in the Crail and St Andrews area and then getting in touch with local shops and restaurants. For example, Mitchell’s Deli in St Andrews and the local greengrocer in Crail are already on board.
“Veg’ of different shapes and sizes is perfectly natural and we believe that people are more informed now and know that a wonky looking potato will taste every bit as good – they just need to be given the choice,” Gill said.