The Culls


When we pick the produce, some of it always is unsuitable for market.  Anything that is split, or has a bruise, bug bite or worm hole doesn’t go to market.  We eat those.  We eat the culls.

There’s nothing at all wrong with the produce we keep for ourselves.  It’s delicious.  It’s just not pretty enough to sell at the market.

Yesterday I made this awesome tomato sandwich.  The tomato had a bad spot on it, which was easily enough cut away.  Now doesn’t that look like a great snack?


Heart-shaped. It grew that way.


Sometimes we have produce that doesn’t make it to the market even though there was nothing wrong with it at all. Those watermelons in the picture at the top of the post looked fine when I picked them.  But like a dummy I allowed them to roll out of the bed of the RTV when I was hauling a load of them from the garden.

So two of them ended up cut up and in our refrigerator.  They were a tasty addition to our supper.

The rest were put to good use too.




10 comments on “The Culls

  1. nebraskadave says:

    Bill, there’s those happy pigs again. They are fun to watch. You mention a issue that really irks me to no end. Today, folks must have perfect food. Even the tiniest blemish will cause them to reject it. They will sacrifice taste, texture, and nutrition for perfect food free of defects. I’ve grown gardens long enough to know that if the claim is organic they must waste a lot of their crop to find the few vegetables that meet the perfect criteria. Hopefully, they have a cleanup crew like you. Pigs do enjoy eating, don’t they.

    Have a great farmer’s market day.


    • Bill says:

      One of the reasons industrial ag has gone over the poorer tasting hybrid varieties is their uniformity of appearance. The industry wants everything to look the same. Taste is secondary.

      Growing the varieties we do, and without using any toxins, means we can only take to market a fraction of what we grow. Most peppers don’t make it to full colorful maturity without a hole or bad spot. Ditto heirloom tomatoes. We probably reject 3 cantaloupes for every one we can sell. But nothing goes to waste here. If we can’t eat it, then the pigs and chickens do. In the case of peppers and eggplant and other things they don’t like, they go to the compost pile.


  2. shoreacres says:

    The folks I buy from have a practice I really like. With peaches, cantaloupe (see that spelling?), tomatoes, and so on, they just load it up and bring it. If something’s really bad, of course they don’t pack it. But if there’s only a bruise, or whatever, in it goes. Then, they cull as they sell.

    At the end of the day, you can buy the culls for a greatly reduced price. That’s what I did with tomatoes for sauce, and I’m doing with peaches right now. If I’m making jam or cobbler filling to freeze, it doesn’t make a bit of difference if I have to cut out a bruise. For that matter, when I’m getting big, luscious peaches four for a dollar, I can lose half a peach and still be ahead.


    • Bill says:

      That’s smart on both your parts. A farmer friend of mine takes all his produce too, on the theory that people can decide for themselves if they want it. And it’s true that many people (especially experienced gardeners) know that good produce doesn’t always look perfect. What you’re doing is very smart. I’d do it myself if I were shopping at your market. And it’s a win-win for you and the farmer.


  3. Dee Ready says:

    Dear Bill, those culls look mighty appetizing! I love tomato/onion/mayo sandwiches so that photo of the heart-shaped tomato slice tempts my taste buds. Peace.


    • Bill says:

      I love tomato and mayo sandwiches. I eat at least a hundred of them over the course of a summer. I’ve never tried putting onion on one but it does sound tasty. 🙂


  4. What a great post about the culls! 🙂


  5. avwalters says:

    Now I can see why those pigs are so happy! I’ve known whole families who raised livestock on gleanings (while quietly sharing some of them with the family.)


    • Bill says:

      When I was growing up we raised pigs entirely on “slop.” No one bought chicken feed either–they had to forage for their food and eat gleanings and kitchen scraps.


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