So, last summer we had the privilege of visiting some of our local Danish farmers and talk to them about their wonderful produce and the struggles they face as suppliers of fruit and veggies in a broken food system.
One of them was Mejnerts organic farm in Tvebølle, north of Sjælland, who’s one of our favorite GRIM suppliers of potatoes. The farmer Peter showed us around the family-owned facilities and took us potato-hunting while educating us on the strict standards his potatoes have to face. As a result, approximately 10% of all potatoes harvested are rejected in the packing department because they are too “ugly”. The potatoes are removed because of their size, form, or because something is wrong with the skin. “There is too much waste”, according to Peter, “even though it’s good quality.”
Peter also shared some insights into seasonality and their breaking point around week 42. This is the last possibility to harvest the potatoes that will last us throughout the winter season. So, they are taken from the ground and put in cold storage in order to secure the best possible conditions for longevity. This means that all the ugly, lucky potatoes you receive in your GRIM box throughout the winter were actually harvested quite a while ago and that's totally normal. In fact, on average, produce in the supermarket is 4 months old.
And speaking of lucky potatoes. You can actually thank the ugly spuds for the Danish school holidays ‘efterårsferie’ in week 42. This was originally called “Kartoffelferie” where children were taken out of school for a week to work side by side with their parents, harvesting potatoes in all sizes and shapes before the winter cold knocked on the door.
Here’s a little gallery with summer nostalgia from Mejnerts' farm.