I always wondered at the apparently dotty EU regulations in relation to the size and shape of fruit and vegetables but it seems that things are little better here. We will not buy straight bananas. Bananas must have a certain curve. Bananas must be a certain size. I was unaware of this until the news reader informed me of the situation last night.
It seems the situation is dire. Thousands of tons of perfectly edible food has to be discarded because it is the wrong shape and the wrong size. At present it just rots. Some of it is then returned to the soil as fertiliser but much of it is simply wasted.
The supermarkets insist that this is because customers will not buy bananas that are too big or too small or straight or....I do not know what else.
I have bought big bananas, small bananas and straight bananas. I buy them from the local greengrocer. He does not seem to know about the need for bananas to be bent. He just buys bananas he believes people will buy. He is still in the business of being a greengrocer but perhaps it is other items that keep him in business. Mind you there are the locally grown tomatoes that come in all shapes and sizes and the pears from the Adelaide Hills that are sometimes short and squat and sometimes long and slender. They taste like tomatoes and pears - in fact more like tomatoes and pears than some of the 'laid out individually in a box' fruit in the supermarket.
But, I suppose the supermarkets are right. They buy tons more than the greengrocer does. They line everything up with regimental precision and label things "Product of Australia" - sometimes - and "Australian owned". The greengrocer labels things "local grower", "Adelaide Hills", "River Murray", "South Coast" (we know what that means here) or Queensland or Victoria. There is a certain amount of regimental precision for the interstate items but a lot of the local items are just tidy instead. It's a tidy shop, a clean shop, a colourful, cheerful shop. I like it. I like the people who work there. We know each other by name.
I will occasionally and guiltily by fruit or vegetables in the supermarket. I use the locally owned supermarket when I can. I rarely venture into the bigger, darker more impersonal one which is one of the duopoly which dominates the Australian market and keeps grocery prices artificially high. You can buy just about anything at anytime in there but it might well have come from anywhere. "Product of Australia" should mean grown in Australia but it might have come, quite unnecessarily, from the other side of the country. "Australian owned" might well mean grown in the United States, Peru or China. It is like their "Made in Australia from local and imported products". You can be certain most of the ingredients have a heavy carbon footprint.
It may be however that this is the least of my problems. I passed the other supermarket yesterday. There was a display of ready to bake Hot Cross Buns "because people want them in January". They are imported from the United States.
I will wait until Good Friday and make our own...and go on buying bananas from the greengrocer.