Monday, May 29, 2006

The Market Diaries: Oxheart Saturday

In the modern fruit and vegetable market, the importance of visual pleasure far exceedes that of taste and smell. The notion of the perfect (and the uniform) tomato, apple, and pepper is first and foremost visual. Many of the fruits and veg that I find in the Wholesale Market are slightly bruised, or have strange and unusual form; their figure is damaged or abnormal, which makes them useless as a commodity in a market that is based on visual presentation.

Oxheart tomatoes, of which I skipped a whole bag on Saturday, are different. They are uniquely unpleasing aesthatically, in way that is truly exotic, and hence can actually enhance their value as a quaint, boutique vegetable, "old-fashioned favourite" for connoisseurs. It's the Lyle Lovett appeal: you're so ugly it's attractive.

The oxheart tomatoes I skipped were not thrown away because they were too ugly, they were just ripe. Good to eat but too late to sell, like most of the produce that ends up in the skips of the market. I didn't find much else: lettuce, parsley, lemons, leeks, apples and pairs. Saturday is a slow day, but it's the only day I can go during the exams period.


Electric Sadhu said...

so do they taste better than the pretty ones?

mink said...

well, I first tasted this variety last year - when we were doing vulenteer work on an organic farm near the Scottish border - and they were unusually tasty and sweet. They were growing them in a polytunnel.
The ones I skipped last week were not that good. Only slightly better than standard British toms.

mink said...

But they're very fleshy which will be good for the Puttanesca sauce I'll make tonight