Backyard Bounty all-Tasmanian Vegie box: 21st September

This week’s parsnips from So Sweet Tasmania are “second” grade. Fruit and vegetables can be manipulated to varying extents, using selective breeding and pest and disease control measures, but at the end of the day they’re living things and for a variety of reasons aren’t always the perfect size or shape and in pristine condition. The major supermarkets have quite exacting standards about what can be put on the shelf; it’s easy to criticise this but the reality is that if you put anything out for people to help themselves to, all things being equal they’ll pick the nicest looking things and leave behind the less attractive specimens. In addition to this, imperfect produce can be prone to spoiling quicker, which can be a big problem with the often byzantine systems that supermarkets use to distribute fresh produce.

The good thing about traditional markets not wanting second grade produce is that it can often be bought for a much nicer price, and with generally only a little extra care and attention in prep, can be just as delicious as the premium produce graded off the top of the harvest. Normally for boxes I order the “value” grade parsnips, which is somewhere in between the premium and second grade, and is a bit cheaper than the premium, which means more veg in your boxes! This week due to harvesting issues I was only able to order the second grade, which is a little rougher around the edges. However, due to the cheaper price, I was also able afford to add a cucumber to each medium and large box, and a full kilo (instead of a half kilo) of parsnips in the small boxes. In addition, this also prevented a couple of hundred kilos of second grade parsnips ending up as just waste.