Every now and then, we see “weird” or “ugly”-looking vegetables from our vendor farms. We asked a farmer from Ping Che Station’s Moon Kee what causes this and more importantly, whether it would affect your consumption of it.
1) Why do organic veggies often have holes? 點解有機菜會有窿？
“Organic veggies often have holes because pesticides aren’t used. Some insects eat the leaves, some eat the stalks, and some eat the roots. If the roots are eaten, then the crop would have to be removed. If the stalks are eaten, it can’t be seen until the veggie is cut open. If the leaves are eaten, we catch each of them by hand, or in extreme cases, remove them with a vacuum cleaner. There’s no other way, the only way to save the crop is to constantly tend to them. However, organic veggies with holes are completely safe to eat!”
2) What makes some vegetables grow in weird shapes? 有乜因素會令蔬菜嘅外表生得奇奇怪怪？
“Weird looking veggies are caused by insects eating the stalks or leaves, compromising photosynthesis, distribution of nutrients, and normal plant growth.”
3) Why don’t organic vegetables look as ‘picture-perfect’ as conventionally grown vegetables? Does the appearance influence and taste or nutritional value of the crop? 點解有機菜賣相一般不及常規菜？外表欠佳會唔會影響味道或營養價值？
“Pesticides and chemical fertilizers used in conventionally grown vegetables are designed to enhance the appearance of the crops, that’s why they tend to look ‘better’. Organic vegetables also take longer to grow, which mean they actually have higher nutritional values.”
4) What happens to the “ugly” vegetables that aren’t sold? 太過唔靚仔而又賣唔出嘅菜，農場一般會點樣處理？
“I often donate “ugly” vegetables not wanted by general consumers to elderly homes. Vegetable that really are too “ugly” are used as fertilizer at the farm.”
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