Monday, September 28, 2009

Picky about produce

There's an interesting article in the Japan Times about the challenges facing Japanese farmers; namely the pickiness of consumers. Apparently "irregular" vegetables, which are either shaped oddly or are too big or small, are bought for lower prices or not at all. One anecdote tells of a farmer who had to resignedly throw out boxes of his broccoli crop because they were too big.

Excuse me? Japan home grows less than 40% of its food, and buyers are rejecting broccoli because it's too big? According to the article I'm not the only one who sees a problem with that - a fledgling company named Vegetable Equality is on the job. I wish them success.

A little aside - this reminded me of a strange fruit-eating habit that I've noticed in Japanese people. They peel all their fruit. Not just oranges and bananas, but apples, peaches, grapes - you name it. I know that's not exclusive to Japan; some people don't like fruit skin. But everyone seems to do it here. When I asked a friend about it, she answered "because of chemicals." But isn't that why we wash fruit before we eat it? There are a lot of valuable nutrients in fruit skin, including vitamins and anti-oxidants - seems like a waste to me.


  1. Yes, it's true- there are lots of good things in the peel, mainly extra valuable fiber. I recently started eating kiwi skins as recommended by a health article. Not especially tasty, but not as repulsive as I feared...

  2. Is there something special about kiwi skins?