As children we were told not to judge a book by its cover. Disney even made a full-length feature musical where an ugly beast could return to his normal appearance only when a young beauty was able to see who he truly was on the inside.
Take a stroll through the produce department and you’ll see plenty of beautiful produce – full of vibrant colors and textures. Then there is that fruit or vegetable over in the corner; the one that everyone knows will never win any beauty contests. In fact, on a recent grocery store tour I had a guest point to a particularly ugly looking orange and ask “what’s wrong with that orange?” She was pointing to our newest arrival, the Sumo Mandarin. If you haven’t seen one, they are definitely the ugly stepsister to the navel orange but once you taste it, she becomes the belle of the ball. Right then and there we sampled the mandarin and the guests were blown away with 8 of 10 guests buying some before leaving. This new citrus varietal was developed in Japan but is now grown on family farms in California and is particularly nice because it is easy to peel.
Then there are those fruits that actually go by the ugly name. First is the Ugli fruit, a hybrid citrus fruit grown in Jamaica originally discovered growing wild. It is named ‘ugly’ because of its unsightly appearance. It is cross between a grapefruit, orange, and tangerine with a rough, wrinkled, greenish-yellow rind and a taste often described as more sour than an orange and less bitter than a grapefruit. Finally, you might find an UglyRipe tomato as well. It is a wrinkly tomato with a delicious heirloom taste.
The next time you pick out your produce, take a minute and find a piece of fruit or a vegetable that perhaps has “inner beauty.” Who knows, you may just find your new favorite addiction.