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I was thinking the other day (actually the IT guy at school was thinking the other day) about vegetables. Vegetables grow in a variety of shapes and sizes. Round, oblong, curly, long and thin, whatever. But this must be a pain for shipping purposes, right? Imagine trying to ship 200 potatoes without the potatoes being hurt. Not possible, they're all different shapes, their size varies, etc. So imagine if vegetables were grown in little square boxes? It's a fact that vegetables grow wherever they can, and if they can only grow in a little box that's where they'll grow. The boxes would be put on after the vegetables (or fruit, I suppose) had begun to grow. The boxes could be, say, clear plastic, to allow sunlight in. The boxes could also have very minute perforations to allow oxygen exchange. And then, when you wanted to ship your 200 potatoes, you simply put the potato cubes into little pre-cut foam pads, and place those in crates. And the potatoes are fine.

Imagine the fun you could have playing with your food if all the veggies were square. You could build radish castles and carrot mausoleums. But, then again, a food fight would be infinitely more dangerous.

Square (cubic) tomatoes were bred 25 years ago by agribusiness companies trying to maximise profits. They did it not only to improve packability, but also to make their products mechanically pickable. At that time Cesar Chavez was organizing migrant workers.

Shouldn't be a big surprise that they taste like cardboard.

see Russell Baker in the NYT.

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