Food Waste Series: #1 Change the way you shop
Recently, I did a poll on Instagram asking whether people found it challenging to use up produce in their fridges before these beautiful fruits and veggies wilted away into perishable misery.
I was surprised with the results!
- 19% hardly ever throw out food
- 50% throw out food about once a month
- 31% find it a huge challenge
More people find it more challenging than I had anticipated, so I have some work to do! I'm taking on a blog series to give some tips and strategies to getting more colour on your plate (and less in the bin!).
This first blog post is going to focus on SHOPPING. Here are 4 suggestions on how you can modify your shopping habits to reduce food waste. Not all these suggestions will work for you, but hopefully one or two will be helpful!
1) Buy produce (and other perishables) in smaller quantities. I know we are all trying to make good decisions from a budgeting perspective to make our money go further at the grocery store, but when you look at food being thrown out, it's also money being unnecessarily thrown in the garbage too.
Do you really need a bag of lemons - yes, it's cheaper, you maybe get 5 lemons for the price of 3 if you bought them individually. But if you end up throwing out half the bag, might have been better just to have bought what you realistically think you can consume.
Being downtown, Legacy Greens specializes in produce for small households. We sell herbs in small amounts, you can buy an individual jalapeno pepper (not a pack of 8 wrapped in plastic), and many of our items are sold loose in bulk so you can buy as little or as much as you want.
Also, if you want a smaller quantity of something, ask! We have had lots of people ask us if they can buy just a few sticks (also known as ribs) of celery, instead of buying the whole bunch (also known as the "stalk"). We now accommodate this! You can just buy one stick of celery for your tuna salad!
2) Buy local produce - Local produce will last longer than imported produce. Shop directly from farmers when you can or stores like Legacy Greens that specialize in local produce. When we source directly from farms, we write down where it's from on the tag. Our organic root veggies are from Vernon of Bowman's Organics in Wallenstein, our greenhouse tomatoes are from his parent's farm down the road, our apples are from Maple Crisp in Elmira, and so many awesome seasonal things are from Fertile Ground Farm in St. Agatha and Loco Fields in Stratford.
3) Buy things you like and know you will use. For beginner cooks, hold off on buying adventurous items unless you have a plan to use that fun produce that same day! For example, fennel is so fun, and reminds me of France. But I'm not a fennel fanatic, and only really use it when I have a recipe during fennel season (Sep-Nov), so I buy fennel with intention and not impulse.
4) Delay grocery shopping until you get that fridge organized and cleaned out of anything wild going on in the crisper. Try having a routine where you use up a bunch of random veggies in a soup, salad, or simply a roasted side dish.
Hope some of these tips were slightly useful! Next week, I'll be talking about produce storage, and how to get the longest life out of your veggies at home. With 7 years in the produce industry, I'm now an expert on this!
Thanks for reading!