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Bugs in your Greens? Tragedy? – No, it’s a love story!

Picture this - you are preparing for a Sunday salad in your kitchen happily slicing your carrots and chopping the leafies when Mr. Bug creeps in uninvited. From behind the leafies of lettuce green, the bug crawls smelling and exploring everything. What’s your first reaction when you spot one? Panic. Shout. Throw away the stuff. Call your neighbours in.  Call your vegetable supplier to complain. Do you?

Mr. Bug aka of “insect”, “pest”, “caterpillar”, “earthworm” or “beetle” and a hundred different names. Most well-meaning but ill-informed consumers mistakenly believe this unwelcome character to be a villain and are prepared to discard the entire produce, condemning the source of supply of the produce under question as supporting rouge. Thus the much awaited ending of fresh produce story into a sumptuous meal is turned into a complete anti-climax of wastage, irritation, bitterness and resentment.

But this climax need not be so tragic. You can change it. You are the director, story writer and the actor too in this story. You are a Customer who can be the real hero. Only you need to arm yourself with the weapon of knowledge. Presence of bug in produce is good news. You can make the good news into a happy ending. You can love the bugs in your fresh produce.               

The bugs in fresh produce actually make sense. It is NOT a sign of sub-standard quality. It is good news. Do you ask – Why??? Well, they are the biggest evidence of a chemical free fresh produce. If not a complete absence, it at least is sure indicator of well controlled and well directed usage of agricultural inputs (including pesticides) – called good agricultural practice i.e. GAP. Why do we claim so? Simple – because when pesticides are used excessively and improperly – the bugs get terminated at the farm and hence wouldn’t have reached you with your produce. Bugs are natural and so are fruits and vegetables. They are friendly to each other. Presence of one with other is not surprising or to be frowned upon but to be considered a perfectly natural consequence of their symbiotic relationship.

The bug(s) present can at worst be a minor irritant which can easily be washed and removed – at best they are the carrier of good news. News of produce grown using GAP. That’s why the little guy is the side-actor (you are the main star J)

Tips for removing bugs from your veggies:

i. Soak in salt water to kill worms and other insects

ii. Plunge in a deep cold bath

iii. Put a little white vinegar in your soaking liquid

iv. Cut veggies into bite-sized pieces and soak in water for about 30 minutes; you may need to repeat.

The presence of bugs may be good news but the converse is not necessarily true, absence of bugs does not necessarily mean the produce is from a farm relying wholly or partially on insecticides and pesticides. Most bugs at the time of harvest are able to extricate themselves from produce and move away but some of them are so much in love with produce they end up landing in our kitchens.  

We encourage you to visit your local farm. And take your kids along. So that you are able to tell your friends from your enemies in the fresh produce story. Bugs are your friends – pesticides, used irresponsibly is your enemy.

So next time you find a bug in a fresh fruit or a vegetable  – Don’t be horrified, just remove the bug, take a deep breath, smile a little, remove the little fellow, wash your produce well and cook it into a perfect meal – voila, a happy ending. You can send us a thank you email later too :p.