You might notice that your trips to the grocery store changing – you’re probably spending a lot more time in the fresh produce section than in the middle of the store, with all the processed food. While you’re chilling near the lettuce heads, let me offer you some hints on how to shop for produce and how to store your goods once you get home so they last as long as possible. (It sucks to spend big $ on produce and just throw it out!)
Buy in season. You’ll notice that berries cost twice as much during the winter, because it costs that much more to ship them to you from California or Florida, where most of them are grown. And it’s going to be hard to buy a pumpkin around Easter, since patchers don’t start going full-on Charlie Brown until the fall. Plus, stuff grown out of season just doesn’t taste as good. So do yourself, your wallet, and your carbon footprint a favor and enjoy your produce when the season is right.
Buy what you’ll eat. I know you’re excited to jump into these new recipes, but don’t go too crazy. Buy what you think you’ll really consume. I’m all about getting ambitious, but keep in mind that most fresh veggies will only last around 2 to 5 days. That said, root vegetables like potatoes and squash can last a week or more. Apples, onions, and citrus have a decent shelf life, too.
Don’t blanch at a bump. We’ve been conditioned to think that good produce has to look shiny and perfect, but then again, we’ve been conditioned to think that WE have to look shiny and perfect. Most produce has a tiny bit of wear and tear, and that’s just fine…especially if it’s been grown without the use of heavy pesticides.
Shop at a farmer’s market. You’ll not only be supporting local farmers who use fewer or no pesticides to keep produce healthy, but you’ll also be able to ask them how fresh the produce is! IMHO, their stuff tastes better than grocery store produce.