Twenty percent of America’s produce goes unused because it doesn’t meet producers cosmetic standards. These fruits and vegetables are perfectly good to eat, but often they don’t even make it into the store. Ugly or imperfect fruits and vegetables are often left in the fields or rejected by food vendors and consumers. With growing world populations, people go hungry everyday. Land and water shortages make every calorie precious and we cannot afford to waste food because of something as trivial as aesthetics.
The BOP’s Funky Fruit Initiative is designed to publicize the problem of food waste and show how un-lovely and unusual foods can be delicious, healthy and affordable. Every year, we harvest thousands of pounds of funky fruit and use that fruit to increase food access and awareness. This ranges from selling apples at a discounted price to hosting cooking demonstrations.
Youth education is also a key part of the initiative, getting the next generation excited about funky fruit. Nothing like the taste of a fresh funky apple to make someone change their mind about appearances!
Every June in Baltimore is Mulberry Madness Month! BOP hosts mulberry events around the city to promote awareness of this super-fruit throughout the month. Though Baltimore abounds with mulberry trees which are free for the picking, they are usually overlooked and rarely harvested despite their tremendous health benefits. Mulberries are a great source of antioxidants, provide immune system support, promote healthy blood sugar levels, are a good source of protein, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, fiber, and iron, and are tasty to boot.
Mulberry Madness is designed to:
– Help Baltimoreans enjoy all the delicate fruits that are ripening around us (with too many falling to waste on our sidewalks and lawns!)
– Expand the choices that make up our dietary palette
– Enable our ability to eat more locally
– Reduce food waste
– Help us imagine a renewed food system that is good for people, planet and prosperity
We are encouraging Baltimoreans to find mulberry trees in their neighborhoods, harvest the berries and enjoy their unique flavor. Tweet about the mulberries you find, harvest, prepare and eat at #mulberrymadness
Each October, we celebrate the end of our harvest season, our volunteers and the glory of funky fruit. The image of uncontrollable falling apples is a perfect symbol of the bounty that comes each harvest season and the success of BOP and its volunteers in growing an edible Baltimore.
During Apple-anche we demonstrate some of the many things that can be done with apples: apple-bobbing, apple pizza, apple salsa, apple sauce, apple cider, and more. It’s a tasty adventure!
Check it out at #appleanche