Thursday is the day in our house when our surprise box of organic fruit and vegetables are hand delivered by our lovely veg man Alan from Riverford Organic.
The fruit and veg are always delicious, ripe, inviting; yet yesterday it was a hole in the dark green flesh of one of my courgettes that made me smile the most.
Seeing the hole, which appeared to be the home of something little and burrowing, reminded me instantly that you don’t often get ‘little holes’ in your fruit and veg any more – fruit and veg in the supermarkets are now often carefully selected and grown for their beauty and perfection. Holes are simply not acceptable.
For me though, that hole tells me that my fruit and vegetables are good enough, and more importantly safe enough for little bugs to eat, which in turn tells me that they are good enough and safe enough for me and my family to eat too.
I’ll never forget the words of wisdom of Dr Jeffrey Bland when I heard him speak at a conference some years ago, when he gave his own perspective on eating organic. Apart from the obvious and hugely important benefits of minimising your own exposure to pesticides and insecticides, he said something even more thought provoking that really made me start to listen. Just like humans, the work that plants do to naturally develop their own resistance to bugs and infections makes them stronger, more hardy plants, which in turn makes them a whole lot more nutritious for you to eat. The amazing strategies which plants develop to protect themselves eventually turn into amazing powerhouses of nutrients. Take away that struggle and replace it with pesticides and insecticides and you are left with a plant which hasn’t had to do much work to reach maturity. There’s something about stresses, strains and struggles which can often make people stronger, and maybe that’s the case for our plants too.
Thank you Riverford for delivering my holey courgette and making me smile