Just Peachy: How Salsa Can Save The World

How do you shop for produce? Chances are you pick around for the most gorgeous peach, apple or ear of corn, discarding those with blemishes or weird shapes, right? That’s typical of inhabitants of our affluent society, but our pickiness results in millions and millions of slightly imperfect fruits and vegetables being tossed into landfills by farmers who actually have to pay money for the indignity of disposing of crops too scrawny or funny-looking for market.

Struck by the scale of this wastefulness, an employee of the Food Bank of South Jersey, after learning that farmers in one Gloucester County co-op spend upwards of $85,000 to throw out 850,000 pounds of edible peaches per year, approached the Campbell Soup Company with the idea to turn those peaches into something useful. Campbell agreed to donate intellectual capital, man hours, ingredients, equipment, packaging and publicity to a partnership that resulted in Just Peachy–a peach salsa that started selling online (foodbanksj.org) and at the Collingswood Farmers Market for $2.99 a jar.

In what appears to be a first-of-its-kind arrangement that can only be described as win-win-win, the co-op is donating the peaches to the Food Bank, which, in turn, is selling the processed salsa to support its activities. The food bank provides food to 175,000 clients in South Jersey, with 57,000 being children. The food bank has received its first of six shipments to total 52,000 jars that employees are working to distribute to a wider range of outlets. If all goes well, representatives from the food bank and Campbell say they may revisit this type of project in the future, and they’re already fielding phone calls from other organizations interested in pursuing similar endeavors.

Just Peachy Salsa [Food Bank of South Jersey]