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Sat Dec 15, 2012, 02:52 PM

Left Out: How Much of the Fresh Produce That We Grow Never Makes It Off the Farm?


from Civil Eats:


Left Out: How Much of the Fresh Produce That We Grow Never Makes It Off the Farm?
By Dana Gunders on December 14, 2012


At a time when over 50 million people are food insecure and we face an obesity crisis, its a shame that 40% of food is never eaten. A closer look shows us that Americans are tossing 52% of the nations nutritious fruits and vegetables wasting produce, more than any other type of food product, including seafood, meat, grains and dairy, at nearly every level across the supply chain.

Some of this massive produce loss is happening well before it reaches retailers, as perfectly edible produce is literally being left on the field or sent to the landfill. And many of these good fruits and vegetables are never even harvested. A new report commissioned by NRDC investigates losses at the farm level.



Some people gamble, some play the stock market, and some grow food. Farming is a risky business that faces the impacts of adverse weather, including crop damage and loss, as a routine part of the business. However, it does not take an extreme weather event, or a weather event at all, for crops to go to waste in the fields. In fact, thousands of acres of perfectly edible produce go to waste every year because of market fluctuations, cosmetic imperfections, and other reasons.

This new crop loss report, written by Milepost Consulting, surveyed a small sample of 16 farmers and packer-shippers (those who distribute the produce) in the Central Coast and Central Valley of California. Results are by no means conclusive due to the limited data set, but they do offer an anecdotal snapshot of the extent of losses that occur. They found that shrink, another word for lost product, could be as low as 1 percent for the crops which were studied and, depending on weather and market conditions of a particular year, as high as 30 percent. Losses for plums and nectarines were on the high side; head lettuce and broccoli losses (at least where the farmer was selling florets separately) were relatively low. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://civileats.com/2012/12/14/left-out-how-much-of-the-fresh-produce-that-we-grow-never-makes-it-off-the-farm/



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Reply Left Out: How Much of the Fresh Produce That We Grow Never Makes It Off the Farm? (Original post)
marmar Dec 2012 OP
grilled onions Dec 2012 #1
AndyTiedye Dec 2012 #2

Response to marmar (Original post)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 03:07 PM

1. Such A Waste

I don't recall any store giving consumers a choice between perfect produce and less then perfect. While some fruits may have grade A etc often the price goes according to the size. I have not even seen day old bread in our area stores in decades. While people do without the fields eat well. Sad.

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Response to grilled onions (Reply #1)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 04:07 PM

2. Transportation Costs

The damaged produce costs just as much to transport as the perfect stuff. Much of it is destined to travel thousands of miles in a truck, and if it hasn't turned into a gooey mess by the time it gets to the market, it might still only fetch half-price, which probably wouldn't even cover the transport costs.

Presumably the stuff that doesn't leave the farm gets composted or plowed under, so it's not a complete waste.

I have not even seen day old bread in our area stores in decades.


Most of it is a lot older than that, but loaded with preservatives and sold at full price.

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