Mrs Green gets naked in the snow

Filed in Blog by on February 9, 2009
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zero waste saladGotta love kids. It was Saturday and there we were with ice and snow on the ground and Little Miss Green asks for salad for lunch.

She has it all planned – salad leaves, cucumber, radishes, tomato, cucumber, pepper, sweetcorn and grated cheese.

It came at a bad time. We hadn’t been able to get out of the house for a few days, and we were unsure how easy it would be to get to our local supermarket. We carefully made our way, but before we got to the petrol station we ran out of diesel.

ouch! Or rather, brrrrrr!

By the time we had walked home to get a diesel can I was in no mood to think about salad for lunch. I was hungry, tired, achy and cold. Soup and bread it was, but still the plea continued. This time LMG would have salad for tea.

Eventually we found our way to the shop and it was heaving. Everyone was stocking up lest they be snowed in for a couple more months. Staff were filling the shelves as soon as they were cleared and I had to negotiate the salad aisle.

I wasn’t in the best of moods and I just knew I was going to end up with loads of landfill packaging at the end of it. We all know that cucumber is shrink wrapped, tomatoes are presented on plastic trays, peppers come in a set of traffic light colours in cellophane and forget about radishes – they no longer come in bunches, they come in little plastic bags.

Imagine my surprise then when we came across naked salad! Yes, there was a whole section of it. Cucumber with peel off barcode stickers attached to their skins like temporary tatoos, tomatoes available to buy in ones, twos or as many as you wish that were weighed at the checkout and shiny peppers in colours of the rainbow all available to buy singly.

Yes the radishes were wrapped, but it’s in PP (code 5) which we can send to GHS for recycling. The only baddy will be the cheese wrapping. You see it had to be Red Leicester and such a delicacy is not available on the deli counter in our small branch.

So all in all, it was a very successful shopping trip. A little out of season perhaps, but when a girl gets a salad craving, she gets a salad craving and the snow isn’t going to stop for it.

Have you had any pleasant ‘naked surprises’ lately? Tell us about them in the comments!


About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (41)

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  1. Kris says:

    Not so much a success story as a craving you’ve set off again with your picture of salad 🙂

    I really fancy some celery and it’s always wrapped – I suppose the best option is cellophane but certainly during zero waste week I was feeling I ought to be as hardline as possible so didn’t go for it!

    Ooh, actually I did have a success story – for the, ahem, higher maintenance among us (ie, me) I was delighted to find naked cooked beetroot in Woodys fruit and vegetable shop in Tewkesbury – and no quibbles about me bunging it in my own container. The whole shop was pretty fab actually, with self-select naked everything!

  2. Yay – love the look of the salad, but after getting naked in the snow I hope you had something warm like a bread and butter pudding. I am now hungry and it’s only 90 minutes after breakfast. 😀 xxx

  3. Poppy says:

    A very strange craving for the current climate. I’m trying to ignore it, but my body is craving carbohydrates and lots of them 🙁 Nothing else hits the spot.

    I’ve got the last serving of my last batch of soup out of the freezer to have for lunch and Master P can have some of the new one. (he’s home poorly from school!)

  4. Mrs Jackson says:

    @Kris: yes I too had a very pleasant experience in Woodys. Also in morrisons there were no qualms about me not putting my loose veg in a silly plastic bag.

  5. Kris says:

    I’m having omelette for lunch, nice and warm and all zw ingredients (plus quick – hurrah!) 😉

    I get those carb cravings too Poppy, especially when I feel under par.

  6. Karen says:

    I have found ‘naked’ cucumber in the Co-op – although the woman at the till gave me a funny look when I called it that!!!
    I usually buy my veg at Over Farm and now use thin calico bags to put them in. They have started selling re-usable produce bags themselves – 5 for £3.50.

  7. I finally figured out that I can buy naked mozzarella cheese in my own container. They provide plastic containers and I scoop the mini mozzarella balls into that. I’ve been trying to remember to bring back the plastic container so I can reuse that until I get my own cheese container.

  8. John Costigane says:

    Mrs Green, being snowed in is a chiller. I had intended to start in the garden but with the deep snow and underlying permafrost that job can wait a few months.

    Come back gulfstream, all is forgiven.

  9. Mrs Green says:

    @Kris: Kris, I think a lot of celery might be in polythene? THis can be recycled through GHS.
    COOKED beetroot without packaging; that’s amazing!I’ve only ever seen it vacuum packed. Didn’t it leak everywhere?
    Hope the omelette was good

    @Almost Mrs Average: Funny you should mention that, Mrs A. Guess what breakfast, this morning was 😉

    @Poppy: Hope Master P is better soon; what is the matter with him?

    @Mrs Jackson: Hmmmm, I’m going to have to pay a visit to Tewks I think; just to check out Woodys. What sort of store is it?

    @Karen: Hi Karen, I will have to take a look at the reusable produce bags next time I’m in Over farm; I didn’t know anything about them!

    @SavvyChristine: Isn’t it great when you find something you love without packaging. Buying Mozzarella like that is fab because it invariably comes in that non recyclable plastic packaging.

    @John Costigane: We’re in the same boat John – the garden will have to wait for warmer and drier days! Still, we always plant late and then enjoy our harvest once everyone else’s is over.

  10. I’m surprised that your tomatoes are not normally loose. Lots of produce is sold loose here…potatoes, onions, peppers, lettuce, radishes, and cucumbers are all free of packaging, save the paper sticker(which I just throw in the compost.

    I think that’s wonderful that LMG was asking for salad! What a good job you are doing.

  11. Jen CleanBin says:

    We must be living parallel lives. I ran out of gas (for the first time ever)just this past friday! Luckily, the first house we stopped us had a full jerry can, so we just bought 10 litres off him!

    Lovely looking salad. I know what you mean about shrink wrapped cucumbers. We can get the regular, thick skinned kind with no wrapper, but I haven’t had an nice english one in months!

  12. Kris says:

    @[email protected] Frugal Girl: I think it’s common to see loose beef or standard tomatoes and less common to see cherry or other small ones. Thank you for the tip about putting the stickers in the compost, I’ve not been sure what to do with those!

    Hi Mrs G – hope you’re stocked up if you’re snowed in again. The beetroot was no problem as it was in a container in the shop with a fork to serve it with, and I was carrying a selection of lock and lock boxes, so just picked a small one. No problems with leakage getting it home and it’s happily sitting in the fridge (well a small piece is) after doing DH’s sandwiches again today.
    And I’m slightly ashamed to admit that the omelette didn’t happen – I got too engrossed in what I was doing and ended up grabbing a bowl of crisps (from the big bag) and a chocolate egg later on.

  13. Kris says:

    Oh and as for trips to Tewkesbury – good idea. Woodys is a greengrocers laid out in the traditional style with lots of loose wares, and opposite there is a sweet shop where everything is weighed out of jars, so you can take your own tubs again 🙂

    There is a butchers next door to them as well, a bakers shop further down the street (lovely honeybuns) and down by the war memorial is the cheese shop/deli that Mrs J has mentioned before.

    So a really good place to get out and wander round. I went on a Wednesday and even got a market to look at, in the swimming pool carpark. So I think you could also source naked fish from there.

  14. Layla says:

    lol Naked fish & naked salad!! 🙂

    Well, Jamie Oliver did start with this naked thing, didn’t he? 🙂

    I was shocked to hear even cucumbers were in plastic where you live!! I’ve seen some of this trend here too, a fewyears ago everything was naked everywhere, and these days it stuns me sometimes (especially in winter) – luckily some veggies can still be bought ‘naked’…
    I really hate it when ‘eco’ veggies or fruit get packed away – how eco is that?

    YAY for fresh salad in the middle of winter!! Indeed Little Miss Green has been brought up well!! 🙂

  15. Layla says:

    I am also thinking.. wouldn’t it be better to heavily promote the businesses doing it ‘the naked way’ (Ooh – lol- this sounds a bit, err..) but you know what I mean..
    to have this widely visible for all, rather than to have it hidden in comments?
    Like a separate button/category or such..?
    /Or if this exists online already, maybe a link to the direction would be nice…?)

  16. Kris says:

    Can I post a counter-revolutionary thought? :/

    Naked cucumber is hard to use up fast enough, exacerbated by the fact that I could only find whole ones… It does seem to get rather mushy.

    So, next challenge – naked half cucumbers!

    (Am irrationally scared of those dwarf cucumber varieties – dating back to many years ago when some did not go right on our allotment…!)

  17. Mrs Jackson says:

    @Kris: Is it not possible to cut off a bit and freeze the rest?

  18. Kris says:

    Possibly Mrs J – never thought of freezing cucumber 🙂 Does it defrost happily?

  19. Mrs Jackson says:

    @Kris: Not tried it but must be worth a try.

  20. Poppy says:

    @Kris: @Mrs Jackson: I think you will find yourselves with a pile of slime.

  21. Poppy says:

    @Mrs Green:

    It’s laughable now, but worrying at the time. He couldnt walk and even resorted to crawling. He said the backs of his legs were really hurting. We racked our brains and his to come up with a reason. We went to see the nurse at the doctors and she couldn’t find anything either and suggested we carried on with the Nurofen and come back if there was no improvement.

    Sat down to tea and I spotted the sponsor form he’d brought home from school and it all clicked into place. They are having a sponsored bounce and we asked how many he thought he could do, so he did a quick demonstration for us and managed about 100 in a 1 minute …… on a hard floor! Problem solved!!

    He’s also had a grotty cold, but it’s back to school in the morning and some more bouncing …. on a bouncy castle! Much easier on the legs 😉

  22. Mrs Jackson says:

    @Poppy: oh that is a shame

  23. Mrs Green says:

    @[email protected] Frugal Girl: It depends on where you go, kristen. Farm shops sell loose stuff, but supermarkets can be dodgy.

    @Jen CleanBin: Oh no about running out of gas. Must have been the full moon playing havoc with us all 😀

    @Kris: Hi Kris, I see about the beetroot now; I had strange images in my mind. Hope the crisps were good! All of the shops and stalls in Tewkesbury sound great – I haven’t been there for years; I used to love the town though.
    I think, if you took a cucumber to a checkout in a green grocer, they would probably cut it in half and sell you half. I know they have done that with a massive cabbage in our local store.
    And don’t even think of freezing a cucumber – you’ll end up with something really horrible! Any fruit or veg with high water content will not defrost successfully.

    @Layla: Well, Layla, for all the salad and veggies she eats, LMG is partial to crisps and would eat sweets given the chance 😉 A little of what you fancy though, eh?! The idea of publicising companies who offer well packaged goods is on the cards, although I’m not sure how we might manage it as we have readers from across the globe……..

    @Poppy: 100 bounces on a hard floor; oh my goodness; poor mite, he must have been in agony. Hope he is better soon.

  24. Kris says:

    Hope Master P is recovering now Poppy!

    I’ve solved the cucumber problem! I bought a whole naked one at Co-op and was then on my way to see Mum (with compostables!) and asked if she liked cucumber… and I left with the half that I can use 🙂

  25. Mrs Green says:

    @Kris: haha! perfect solution Kris. Share food with a friend!

  26. Kris says:

    …or if you have no friends – your Mum!! 😉

  27. Mrs Green says:

    Awwww, shall we change your name to Billy no mates? At least you have us – doesn’t that make you feel a whole lot better 😀

  28. Kris says:

    Yup 🙂 group hug?

  29. Carole Blake says:

    Hi Mrs Green,

    On the subject of non-naked fruit and veg, if I see anything wrapped up that I need, and there’s no naked choice alternative, I take off the pastic and take it and the fruit/veg to the checkout where I make a point of telling them that THEY can get rid of the packaging, not me; and that if they didn’t wrap everything up when nature’s given most fruit and veg a perfectly good skin of its own, then this planet would be a lot better off.
    They all think I’m mad, but I don’t care.

    I’ve complained to Tesco; the Co-op (who are better than most), Morrisons, Asda, you name it. I think I’m the only one I ever seen at checkouts who puts half a dozen loose apples, tomatoes, potatoes etc etc into their reusable shoppers! They roll all over the checkout and I have to catch ’em one by one, but it’s all part of the challenge, lol.

  30. John Costigane says:

    @Carole Blake: Well done, Carole. I too take loose produce to check out. Do you use containers for meat/fish etc?

  31. Carole Blake says:

    Hi John,

    For myself I don’t eat meat, just some fish/seafood occasionally, but I do take plastic containers for when I buy fish and when I buy meat (for my sons!). I try to buy my meat from the local butcher as then it’s easier to find out where it’s coming from. You get odd looks from them too at first, but they know me now, and know I’m not quite as mad as I sound (or look?)

    It’s really hard sometimes to keep up against the pressure of taking the easy options. I’ve asked the local supermarket (Co-op) to bring back dry goods bins for pasta, rice, basic breakfast cereals to buy by weight into paper bags etc; there used to be a local little shop here in my town in Cornwall that did that, but it closed down a few years ago. The Co-op said the would put it forward at their next area meeting, but I’ve not heard anything since.

  32. John Costigane says:

    @Carole Blake:Hi again Carol, That is my take on things as well. Staff are used to my eccentricities and respect my reasons. Maybe it is easier for a male. I fully agree with your dry goods request from the Co-op. Dried coconut and sultanas are 2 things missing from my home baking recipes.

    Pressure from the trend should lead to good changes and posting good developments will help others.

  33. Mrs Green says:

    @Kris: Hey Kris; I think we should plan a meet up when the weather gets better. There are quite a few locals on here now. Maybe a zero waste picnic or something LOL!

    @Carole Blake: Hi Carole; you have more confidence than I do. I have considered this when the shop has been quiet, but not at other times. How do you get around the items that are shrink wrapped in that really thick plastic – you know the stuff I mean? Don’t you need a knife to cut it off? Our cucumbers around here, generally come in this type of plastic.
    I agree that the bins of foods are a great idea. There used to be a lot of them around. We found a more local shop recently that has a small range of such items, but it’s not extensive. The savings are massive though – it just goes to show how much we pay for convenience with packaging as well as the environment.

    @Mrs Jackson: Hi Mrs J – we’ll be hot on the trail of this story soon and thanks for the dump the dump link; I think they are doing great work and will be contacting them too 🙂

  34. Kris says:

    I’m definitely in for a meet-up 🙂

    I miss Rooty Frooty which we used to have two branches of in Cheltenham. They made fresh smoothies, sold the most exquisite seedy bread (plus others!) and had bins of nuts, fruits and other dried stuff at the back of the shop. But not long after I discovered them, they blinked out of existence 🙁

    I’ve thought about discarding packaging at the checkout – but so far am managing to mostly avoid it which feels good! That’s not to say everything is naked, but I can live with a small amount of polythene to be properly disposed of, and do think the vine cherry tomatoes in compostable packaging in Sainsburys are good enough quality to justify their eye-watering price. However, I was brought-up a bit short this morning in my shopping, as the two staff manning all the counters in Sainsburys had been told respectively, not to put things in containers for customers, and not told anything (so she didn’t want to take any risk of getting it wrong). In the end I politely declined to get meat there after all, and went to the village butchers. This sounds like a fair enough solution but I was quite frustrated by not being able to buy some cheese which I’ve done lots of times there before! Ah well, it can wait till later in the week when hopefully they will have different staff who’ve been told different things again…

  35. Carole Blake says:

    @Mrs Green: Hi Mrs Green,

    re: thick plastic on stuff, I avoid it like the plague. If the cucumbers aren’t nekkid I do the rejection thing. Very frustrating sometimes. The Co-op have got better at selling nekkid cukes.
    I don’t call myself confident, just bloody minded lol.


  36. Mrs Green says:

    @Kris: Rooty Frooty sounds amazing; maybe another one will open. How weird about Sainsbury’s today, but yay for your local butcher. It’s a challenge on the convenience route though 🙁

    @Carole Blake: Hi Carole; yes, sometimes rejection is the only way – the fourth ‘R’ as we like to call it. Bloody minded is good!

  37. Kris says:

    Convenience can be a problem, sometimes I just haven’t got the will to go out of my way, and Wednesday I just wanted to do one shop and go on home. However, I am quite enjoying the fact that when I do zip round doing targeted shopping it has been going very efficiently, there’s a lot of satisfaction in getting home with things how you want them, and knowing that it still only took one or two hours of your time.

    Which bit of Cornwall are you Carole? Just curious, I admit 🙂

  38. Carole Blake says:

    @Kris: I’m in Wadebridge, a lovely little town. Within 10/15 mins drive of Polzeath surf beach, and not too far from Bodmin Moor. Lots of fresh fish!!

    Moving to Saltash before the end of the year though.

  39. Kris says:

    I like Wadebridge, we always go there for Fish and Chips when in Cornwall 🙂

  40. Mrs Green says:

    @Kris: I do understand about not always wanting to go out of your way. I find 95% of the time I’m fine, but then my inner child chucks her toys out of the pram and I give into the convenience. It sounds like you have things pretty sorted know and I love the satisfaction of a good zero waste shopping trip too!

    @Carole Blake: Ahhh, Wadebridge is lovely. We have spent 7 years in a row near Tintagel in a place called Trebarwith Strand. We have visited wadebridge a couple of times. I think it was there that they had a fab health food shop with lots of fresh organic produce.