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Imperfect produce pageant at Linden Hills Farmers Market

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Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The beer holder. The tomato holder? 

The stats tell us that about 30 percent of all U.S. produce goes uneaten, valued at a whopping $162 billion dollars, in part because it's imperfect to look at. Because the tomatoes aren't round enough, because the carrots are more Rockette than pogo stick, because the potato has sprouted a De Bergerac schnoz. 

But what kind of attitude is that? Don't we finally know that true beauty actually lies in the imperfections? That without Lauren Hutton's gap tooth she was just a regular old pretty girl and not a great beauty? That your nose ridge drives all the ladies wild though they can't figure out why? (You know what they say...) 

An aside: A farmer friend once told me that when he first started growing heirloom tomatoes — you know the ones, the ones that come in every gumball color from lime green to sunset orange and every size and shape from marble to monster? He said chefs would actually shout him out of the kitchen and tell him to come back when he had some red, round tomatoes. Now those gnarled beauties are worth their weight in gold. 

So this weekend, prove your progressiveness in knowing that beauty isn't just potato-skin deep by bringing your funniest, ugliest, weirdest (and by this of course we mean loveliest) produce to the Linden Hills Farmers Market and join some local food celebrities including Steven Brown of Tilia, Tammy Wong of Rainbow Chinese, and Pete Campbell of Red Wagon Pizza in a low-stakes produce beauty pageant. Don't worry, Donald Trump won't be there making creepy innuendo. 

All gardeners and farmers are eligible join in the fun, there'll be blue ribbons for the winners, and Campbell will also create a specialty pizza with the winning oddballs. 

Sunday, August 2 9:30 a.m to noon (winners announced around noon)  Linden Hills Farmers Market  2813 W. 43rd St., Minneapolis  lindenhillsfarmersmarket.com