Where do our expectations come from? This post is going to be about produce and the expectations of our produce often comes from the grocery store. Everything should look like what you get at the store. But I also know that there are issues with airbrushed or photoshopped pictures on magazines that change expectations and misrepresent reality.
I was out harvesting my vegetables today and I was thinking a lot of expectations. My cauliflower is not a pristine white, it has a little purple tint to it. It just doesn’t meet the consumers’ expectations. Sure, I tasted it and it was the sweetest cauliflower that I have ever tasted and there is absolutely nothing wrong with the purple in it, but when I take it to market today, it won’t sell because it doesn’t look like the stuff in the store. Who cares if it tastes good, it has to look like the stuff in the store.
On the other side of that, I have lots of lettuce in my field that is terribly bitter. It looks great and I could take it to market and sell it at a premium price, but I won’t. I won’t take it to market because it doesn’t taste good. I sell produce that tastes good. That is my business. Unfortunately, consumers are in the field of buying foods that look good.
There is also the issue of people only buying things they are familiar with. There are lots of things that you can do with broccoli for example. Everyone knows a bunch of stuff you can do with a head of broccoli, but did you know that you can eat the leaves (Cauliflower leaves are edible too). You can use them in a stir fry, you can bake them into chip like things, or you can do about anything with them that you would do with a collard green. In addition to being ‘edible’, they also happen to taste good and provide a nice broccoli taste to things. I love using the broccoli and cauliflower leaves in all sorts of dishes, but at a market, nobody will buy them because you can’t buy them at a supermarket and they don’t know what to do with them.
If one of our main goals is to be sustainable, it doesn’t seem right to just throw out a bunch of edible greens from the farm. But if nobody eats them, what am I supposed to do? My family already eats a lot of them, but there is a limit to the number of times a week you can eat broccoli and cauliflower greens. I had not anticipated this, but a barrier to being sustainable is what other people know how to cook with. I guess I need to start teaching cooking classes or something.