Do You Like Your Vegetables Ugly—Or Sexy?

A San Francisco farmers market boosts the image of imperfect produce in its new, yet provocative, ad campaign.

by Rachael Dupree

Too plump. Too thin. Oddly shaped. We’re all worthy of love right? That’s the message being sent out on buses across San Francisco.

In a new ad campaign for the Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market, the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture is merging the popularity of “ugly” produce and online dating culture into several bold and colorful billboards featuring imperfect-looking fruits and vegetables. If you’re over the age of 25, some of the references may be lost on you—”Swipe ripe” refers to the dating app Tinder; “Casual encounters” to a thread on Craigslist; and “Eggplant envy” to the banana’s new phallic counterpart—but they’re sure to catch your eye.

casual encounters - farmers market ad

“Farmers markets are sexy, especially in the summer,” says Executive Director Marcy Coburn in a press release. “At the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, we’ve got sunshine, beautiful food, gorgeous views, and enticing people—all perfect conditions for finding love.”

eggplant envy - farmers market ad

The ads tell us that its OK—perhaps even desirable—to shop outside the box. Strawberries that look like two smooshed together, forked carrots with the the prongs wrapped around each other and eggplants growing (ahem) appendages taste just as wonderful as their perfectly shaped counterparts and should be celebrated. At your local farmers market, of course.

The ads began making their debut on the Muni, San Francisco’s public transportation system starting in June. If you live there or are in the city for a visit, go find some sexy produce of your own to take home.

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