Curvy cucumbers and knobbly carrots are back in style in Europe. They returned to the produce aisle last week after the European Union dropped certain requirements on the size and shape of 36 types of fruits and vegetables.
For two decades, only the prettiest produce was sold, thanks to EU-wide marketing standards.
As reported by Geoff Meade in the UK’s The Independent, the restrictive EU rules were lifted to help reduce red tape and bureaucracy, and to make cheaper fruits and veggies available during these recessionary times. The restrictive standards prohibited irregular-looking produceâ€”everything from apricots to watermelonsâ€”from being sold.
â€˜We don’t need to regulate this sort of thing at the EU level,â€™ said EU Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel. â€˜It is far better to leave it to market operators.â€™ As one Commission official put it last year during negotiations on reform: â€˜Times have changed; now household budgets are tighter and there is the problem of wasting food, too, so it makes more sense than ever to allow people to buy wonky fruit and veg if they wish.â€™
In North America, we don’t worry too much about â€˜wonkyâ€™ veggies. Over here, misshapen produce is sometimes viewed as a miracle, worthy of a religious pilgrimage. Or sold on eBay for a nice profit.
In his blog, DispatchesFromTheIsland, Jorge Garcia (“Hurley” from ABC’s “Lost”) has an interesting illustrated take on the shaping of cucumbers.
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