Death of the crooked cucumber
In Europe, when summer news is slow because of vacations and school holidays, this has been labeled 'cucumber time' or 'silly season'. Cucumbers are ripe and somehow goofy, human interest stories that would not usually make the news seem to sprout, like articles about giant cucumbers or crooked cucumbers.
Cucumbers during the financial crisis
Two years ago this week, while working at Rabobank, I wanted to write a cucumber time story. The seriousness of the financial crisis was a very unfunny cinderblock chained to the ankle of every financial website. Therefore, a cucumber story from a food and agribusiness bank might be refreshing.
Head of Communications Raymond Salet was willing to take a calculated risk and said if I could find some cucumber news, then I could do a cucumber story. But, it had to be real news.
Finding real cucumber news
As luck would have it, new European regulations on size and shapes of 26 fruits and vegetables had just been lifted, making it possible to buy irregularly shaped produce in the supermarket. Including, yes, the crooked cucumber.
I was able to write the story with the help of Rabobank's cucumber market analyst Cindy van Rijswick who explained why we only see straight cucumbers in the supermarket. The crooked cucumber article was translated into Dutch and was picked up by different agricultural websites that we did not know existed like Cucumber Net and Veggie News.
Will we see crooked cucumbers in the supermarket?
Original article with cucumber analyst Cindy van Rijswick, July 2009
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