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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Finally a use for Crooked Cucumber

Here's a Ted Talk by a woman in Kromkommer - Crooked Cucumber in Dutch I think on this video but German too. It's a group that's part of the growing movement to use and eat and not throw away produce that is discarded because of appearance.
When I ran the Green Gulch Green Grocer catty-corner from the Page St. City Center fall 76 to spring 77, we bought vegetables that the health department had condemned solely for its appearance and sold it illegally. Lots of it. Stacks of papaya on the sidewalk sold super cheap. They'd catch us and tell us not to do it and we'd just wait till they went away.

I'm going to send an email to these Kromkommer folks because our Crooked Cucumber, Shunryu Suzuki, and Zen in general, is a perfect exemplar of not wasting produce. His father would pick up cabbage from the road that was dropped by farmers and when he shopped he would buy the worst looking vegetables so they wouldn't be wasted. There was a general frugality in old Japanese culture that went out the window in modern times and carelessly discarding edible and non edible material became the norm. A small department store near where we lived in Okayama would move out last years appliances into a fenced area and move in the new. Then compacting trucks would come and crush - brand new refrigerators and clothes washers. I heard older people call it the "use and throw away society."

The movement not to discard edible produce is part of a larger movement to realize that there are limits to what we have, to respect the bounty of the earth, and to stop using the earth, sea, and air as a trash receptacle.

I used to advise people to buy Crooked Cucumber to use as a doorstop but this is a better use. Eat it! - dc