Re: [gardeners] A matter of taste

Catharine Vinson (
Thu, 25 Jun 1998 15:48:03 +0000

Liz wrote:

> I think that over the next 20 - 40 years there is going to be a 
> backlash against tasteless veggies.  Producing food that can 
> withstand the stress of shipping, machine picking, storing and 
> processing has been a priority for good reason.  We now have many 
> varieties with excellent productivity that meet those needs.  The 
> next step will be to put flavor back into the equation.  Flavor is 
> going to one day be the edge in what sells and what doesn't.

Ok, let's look at retail merchandising: malls, department stores, etc. In 
the past 30 years there has been a tremendous explosion in the sheer 
variety of stuff manufactured and merchandised. I'm not sure whether the 
consumer demanded the mind-boggling variety of choices of bicycle pants, 
to use a wacko example, or if the consumer has been manipulated into 
believing that it is inherently a) better b) his right c) inevitable that 
he be faced with 50 choices at a glance. 

We have come an awfully long way from "any color you like, as long as it's 
black" in cars, clothes, refrigerators.....the *bric-a-brac* of late-20th 
century living in North America and Western Europe, in particular. How odd 
that the reverse seems to be true in the case of *food.* Since the turn of 
the century, our choices in terms of varieties of fruits, grains, 
vegetables, etc. has shrunk alarmingly. Less than 5% of the kinds of 
beans that were available 80 years ago are now offered...somthing like 

Enter the Age of Merchandising of Diversity in Foodstuffs? Are we going to 
see 30 years of heirloom and "new hybrid" proliferation akin to the 
industrial "model of the year" of industrial output (and software, and 

Will what worked for deodorant and toothpaste and tennis shows work for 
'taters and 'maters? Should it?