Of Wonky Veg

As I was peeling parsnips for dinner last night I was reminded of watching “Hugh’s War on Waste” that was on BBC TV earlier in the week.

CS9lF5jXIAAnYWtThe programme highlighted the statistic that as a nation on average we throw away the equivalent of a days food per week per household. Quite a shocking statistic, and one that I am determined won’t apply in this house. I feel that we are already pretty good in terms of making sure we don’t throw away anything that is still good to eat, but there is always room for improvement and I’ve therefore signed the pledge at http://wastenotuk.com, I encourage you to do the same.

I think what shocked me more though was the further statistic that supermarkets reject over 40% of produce grown by farmers each year for being the wrong shape or colour. Parsnips were the example used in the show, and the shocking story of one struggling farm that has 20 tonnes of parsnips rejected by Morrisons every week because they don’t fit the supermarkets exacting standards. (Here’s what Morrisons had to say)

Cosmetically, this is the supermodel of parsnips, but it has no flavour
Cosmetically, this is the supermodel of parsnips, but it has no flavour
Now I mostly grow my own veg, at the moment I have a gap in my parsnip supply due to poorly timed seed sowing on my part.

My first sowing have all be harvested and although I have plenty of parsnips growing, but they’re not yet ready to harvest, so I had to buy some this week.

They are cosmetically very pretty – unlike the ones I normally grow, which tend to be a bit misshapen and odd looking, however they have absolutely no taste to them. My first harvest of parsnips this year from the allotment were sweet and very tasty, despite their outward appearance, the ones that I bought from the supermarket to supplement the allotment supply are not.

Now I know that won’t come as a surprise to many other allotment holders or those that grow their own veg, and I’m sure that it is as much to do with the time from harvest to plate that is as important, as well as the growing conditions, than how the parsnip looks, but for heavens sake why does cosmetic appearance matter? It’s taste that counts.

I’m for wonky, tasty veg.

EDIT: Incorrect hyperlink updated

Frosty Start, Sunny Finish


After a busy weekend on the allotment, with my early spuds going in the ground as well as shallots, radish, lettuce, parsnip and a complete set of brassica plants that arrived last Friday, I was hoping for them to escape any significant frosts. Knowing that to be unlikely I did make sure that they were all under cover. I made good use of the cloche that I built a week or so ago.



This morning I woke to a proper frost however. The roof of our house was white, as was the ground, I hoped that my preparations were enough. 

After work this evening I walked down to the allotment with the dogs to check how my new plants were. By now the sun was out and the Mercury had risen. Everything appears well, all of the brassica plants that went in only a few days ago seem fine, my cloche has done a good job. I’m sure they’ll be more frosts to come, but it’d good to know that my preparations seem good.