The other day, I bought a peach.
When I brought it home and cut it in half, I found…
The Very Hungry Caterpillar!
It’s okay. He didn’t eat very much.
We trimmed away the part he nibbled.
There was plenty left for everyone!
I try not to freak out when I find a critter in my produce. More importantly, I try not to freak the kids out. If buying or growing pesticide-free food means we get the occasional grub or aphid, so be it. I’d rather have the critters than the poisons, and I’m trying to teach the kids to make the same choices.
And most of the time, there really is no reason to throw the fruit or vegetable away. As long as the rest of it looks and smells okay, you can just trim away the nibbled-on part.
So I stay calm, and cut away the icky part, and eat the rest without fear. I may comment that “When something’s nibbling on food, that means it’s extra delicious,” or that “It’s okay, he left enough to share with everyone.”
Of course, there is such a thing as being too welcoming. This little guy is, in truth, an invasive, destructive pest, and would grow up to ruin my neighbor’s peach tree. If I were truly badass, I’d point out what an excellent protein source our little friend is and nibble him up — eating insects is healthy and trendy, after all. But I’m not quite there yet, so I just quietly smash or drown our little visitors.
And yes, if the kids notice, I explain why. We’ve talked about why we leave most critters alone, but kill snails and other pests that would ruin the garden, and they don’t seem bothered by the transition from “Look, it’s a beloved childhood book character,” to “… but actually it’s bad so we’re going to kill it.”
That link to The Very Hungry Caterpillar is an Amazon affiliate link, which means that if you click on it and buy the book (or anything else), I’ll earn a few nickels. That said, I’d much rather that you buy your books from your local independent bookstore.