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We have a very fruity edition this month as October is the time for harvesting; collecting your wares from the garden, like squirrels gathering their nuts in readiness for the winter ahead. It’s lovely to see trees full of fruit and an abundance of vegetables in the fields, but it’s equally disheartening to see so much waste. On my travels last week I saw dozens of figs fallen to the floor from their gnarled bearers, only to be hoovered up by flies, wasps and the azure winged magpies. There is always something that will consume the waste, and in turn I suppose it is a form of composting. But when I hear figs are currently being sold back in the UK for a pound each - yes you did heard correctly, I calculated the equivalent of close to a thousand pound coins under these fig trees just in the last few days alone. I think, when it comes to growing fruit or vegetables it’s very easy to gluttonise. The temptation is to over plant, over seed and ultimately, overlook any mistakes. Yes, a tiny tomato seed looks so paltry, and adequate to feed your family, yet one seed might yield 40kg of tomatoes, when you might only eat that quantity in a year. Of course, you will have friends and neighbours that you can offer your excess goods to, and a full freezer of purée, but even so we still tend to plant too much, with the result that a shocking amount goes to waste. Supermarket giants are even worse. Undoubtedly, they are endeavouring to balance between supply and demand and battling with share holder profits and the shelf life of these crops, and if you are lucky you might get a few kilos at half price when the ticking ‘Best before’ bomb is closer to imploding. Then it’s doom and gloom for a wilted spinach, frogmarched in trolleys to their final destination, which is often a refuse bin full of other discarded items and onto to a landfill site. At least give these plants some dignity and let them shrivel back into the soil whence they came from. The world is changing and I hear the French are offering some perfectly edible out-of-date foods to the poor, homeless and needy, and some councils are creating compost from out-dated foodstuffs. Surely this should already be a world-wide practice? Although sadly there will be many dissenters that claim profits come before humanitarianism. So tuck in to October, I’m off to feed some well out of date tomatoes to my hungry worms!
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