This Man Raised Caterpillars He Found in His Broccoli


About 99 times out of 100, any tale of finding an insect in your food could be rightly classified as a horror story. If you don’t believe me, check your strawberries.  And yet, somehow, the tale of UK radio presenter Sam Darlston and the caterpillars he found in his Tesco broccoli comes with an unexpectedly happy ending.

It all started last month, when Darlaston sent what could be considered the most polite tweet at a grocer to let them know he found bugs in their produce. “They’re really nice and we’ve ended up keeping one as a pet and naming him. But just as a heads up, some of your broc has c-pillars,” he told @Tesco.

After giving Cedric (from Spain) a proper home, Darlaston and his flatmates then proceeded to find six more caterpillars in Tesco broccoli over the next 24 or so hours, joining Cedric with Croc, Carlos, Janine, Slim Eric, Broc, and Olly (get it?). Now that’s a crew right there.

While Tesco eventually compensated Darlaston with a £1.10 gift card for the “3 broccolis full of caterpillars,” what they really gave him was the chance to witness one of nature’s most wondrous transformations up close. Over the week or so that followed, the caterpillars each formed a chrysalis and cocooned, eventually turning into a whole gang of beautiful butterflies.

The metamorphosis became such an event that Broc the new butterfly was released into the wild live on BBC Radio 2.

More than two full weeks after Darlaston first found Cedric crawling in his broccoli, Slim Eric became the last of the gang to fulfill his destiny.

Around the same time as Broc and Olly took flight, a woman’s Waitrose duck eggs hatched after some time in the incubator. There must be something about UK supermarkets that breeds (literally) these tales of special creatures.

So, yes. It’s totally natural to freak out if you find a caterpillar in your produce. But instead of squashing them, maybe let them go and live their life—or better yet, nurture them. You might be surprised by what you see.


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