The world’s first farm dedicated entirely to producing imperfect vegetables is aiming to supply some of the world's major supermarket chains in the coming year as demand for oddly shaped produce continues to rise, buoyed by a string of recent campaigns to raise awareness of food waste.
While it might seem an unlikely business plan, the idea of building greenhouses that are dedicated entirely to the production of misshapen products is one that its creator, Dutch entrepreneur Wyard Vorm, believes will bear fruit.
"Everyone has said to me this is a crazy thing to do, but I've seen how the market for imperfect fruit and vegetables has grown and I think I can grab a slice of the ugly pie," he comments. "Eventually, we're going to produce around 100 tonnes of twisted tomatoes, crooked cucumbers and imperfect peppers in a completely sustainable way every week, shipping them to customers across the world."
Having drawn investment from a recent crowdfunding campaign to establish a production company called GrowTechs, work has now begun on planting specially developed varieties that Vorm says can yield a very high proportion of ugly crops.
To achieve 100 per cent imperfection, he adds, technology will be required. "We can remove the regular-shaped, good-looking vegetables using state-of-the-art grading software which scans each individual product and identifies those that don't match the strict requirements we set. If there's no knobbly protrusions or it doesn't look like a contorted, gurning face, we’ll probably remove it and send it for processing."
Retail customers will even be able to request specific abnormalities, says Vorm. What’s more, some of the first vegetables to be harvested will be marketed under a new brand, Bitter & Twisted.
Vorm concludes: “We’re hopeful this could be the start of something really beautiful."
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