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Food Waste

Food Waste. It's Complicated.

Food Waste. It's Complicated.

When I talk to our customers about our work with food waste it always gets people really excited. It's a great thing that more people are getting engaged about the amount of food we waste and ways to mitigate it.

From the 'outside' looking in it can seem pretty simple, reduce your own waste and find a use for what has to be waste. It's not rocket science.

The problem is that our food system is so deeply ingrained around consumption and overproduction with complex systems of subsidies and tariffs that shifting the balance of the system takes a fair bit of pain. This was painfully clear on one recent food waste pickup.

This is what 3 tons of unwanted plums looks like:

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Now the reason why these plums were going to waste was a specific misunderstanding with a packhouse. A preventable waste but one that happens all the time.

But what you can't see in this photo is the 30 tons of fruit still on the trees out of shot which are going unpicked.

Why?

Well, the supermarket which takes most of this farmers production is trying to do a lot to mitigate their own waste. So the individual store managers are ordering less soft fruit as a result.

For this farmer, this is a really bad outcome of the growing awareness of food waste; and our farmers are really not in a position to suffer these kinds of losses.

So it's complicated. 

I'm a food waste fanatic but don't claim to have the answers. One thing we can do is to get into the habit of checking the labels on our food, buying local, buying in season, and still reaching for that punnet of plums when it's the last box on the shelf.

 

All hail the apple

All hail the apple

How blemished does an apple have to be before you turn your nose up? Well, the supermarkets think not very. In fact, supermarkets, on your behalf,  won't accept many blemishes at all.

I was at the UK Fruit Show last week and took this photo of some extremely shiny apples. Perfection not far removed from what we are presented in the aisles. 

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New friends and local apple farmers, Peter & Gina, farm a few hundred acres a mile or so from the distillery.  In early summer this year, a freak hail shower passed through their orchards when the apples were golf ball sized, affecting a little under half the crop. 

The photo below is of one of the worst affected apples; most had one or two small dimples on, but still enough to make them unsaleable to supermarkets. 

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The fruit is now fully ripe and delicious, but can only be sold as juicing stock. Such a large amount of juicing stock causes a problem: it won't generate enough revenue to make it worth running the cold stores so needs to be sold straight away.  

This is the raison d'etre for Greensand Ridge Distillery. To be able to step in and take what may end up as waste, support local farmers and use amazing produce for mouthwatering spirits!