Where do all the unloved nectarines go?

by Anna Buckley

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A few years ago I was visiting a friend who was nectarine grower. She presented me with a tray of the most beautiful huge ripe fruit. I bit into one of these delicious sweet plump beauties and was immediately transported back in time when my parents had their own tree and we would gorge ourselves until we could eat no more.
“How much for the tray?” I asked expecting to pay a premium for what seemed like the most choice fruit.
“Nothing” she said.

It turns out that Australia’s major supermarkets require very specifically sized fruit and the nectarine I’d just bitten into did not pass muster. It was too big and too ripe.
“So what happens to this fruit?” I asked.
“We send it to a farmer for pig food and when he can’t take any more it gets dumped”
I was horrified.

My brain went into overdrive trying to think of ways to deal with this ridiculous amount of waste.

I dreamed of parking lots crammed with trucks full of the ugly ducklings of the fruit world and of customers leaving with baskets laden with these delicious rejects. Shoppers sharing stories of pickling, baking and preserving, skipping back to their kitchens smug that they had saved the world with this simple act. Farmers and consumers happy.

But this place, this utopian market does not exist.
I caught up with her last summer and she sadly told me she was ripping out most of the trees because the price paid for the fruit the supermarket demanded no longer covered the cost of production!

I have no answers but I thought I’d leave you with a picture of this fruit and all is magnificent imperfection.

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Anna Buckley Books

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The Lost Woman series follows the sexy adventures of Christina as she makes her way through a world of new media, design, fashion,  travel, and … men.
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