By Lena Kim
Last week, I blogged about the sad plight of the Jersey peach. Each year, an estimated one million peaches in the Garden state are dumped unceremoniously into landfills, simply due to superficial blemishes or size discrepancies that prevent their sale. And this is just a drop in the bushel of what goes on throughout our country, while 14 percent of American families are struggling to put food on the table.
However, I promised a happy ending to this juicy saga, so here it goes:
The Food Bank of South Jersey (FBSJ) brainstormed with local growers how those peaches could be salvaged. The answer? A salsa makeover! They approached Campbell Soup Company, who agreed to produce the aptly named Just Peachy Salsa with rescued peaches. Campbell suppliers agreed to donate ingredients and packaging, and Campbell’s employees donated their time, developing a recipe, canning, even labeling this unique product.
From there, the food bank sells the salsa for $2.99 per jar through the FBSJ website, local events, and starting this holiday season, area ShopRite and Wegman’s Supermarkets. Profits from the sales of Just Peachy Salsa go directly to the FBSJ, helping to feed local families struggling to put food on the table.
Let’s go over this winning trifecta again: 1) Local farmers save good products they spent time and energy to grow while also saving on waste disposal costs; 2) The amount of food waste in local landfills is reduced; 3) A local corporation is able to give back with revenues helping to feed hungry families.
When life hands you lemons, make lemonade. In this case, life handed the FBSJ a bunch of homely peaches… and they made salsa. Is there a lesson to be learned for the rest of us, who might not necessarily work at a food bank, farm, or food corporation? Absolutely.
The next time we see food that on first glance might appear disposable, let’s all take a closer look. That food just might be like that homely Jersey peach: edible, even delicious, yet in need of a makeover, say, a creative recipe or a different preparation.
Let’s all start rescuing America’s bounty- our Thanksgiving leftovers, our bruised or misshapen fruit, our slightly wilted veggies – from those depressingly large, ever-expanding, methane-spewing landfills. In other words, think of EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge’s rallying call: Feed people, not landfills.
About the author: Lena Kim works with EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge team. She lives in Center City Philadelphia, and frequents New Jersey orchards with friends & family. For more information about where to find the Just Peachy Salsa, click here.