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David M. Bueker

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Produce: Hiding the flaws

by David M. Bueker » Wed Apr 26, 2006 1:39 pm

Ok, so I am basically fed up with supermarket produce. This is especially true of anything that comes in any sort of packaging. It's seems to all be desined to prevent me from knowing if what I am buying is any good. In the last week I have ended up with basil that had mold in the middle of the package, grape tomatoes that had exploded, nasty, fuzzy mushrooms and lettuce blend (the field greens) with nasty bugs in it. Let's not even talk about berries - are they ever any good???

Given where I live (blue collar town), I have three equally bad supermarket options. Argh!!!

Why can't I at least get edible produce? I am not asking for perfection this time of year, just edibility. :evil:
There behind the glass lies a real blade of grass. Be careful as you pass. Move along. Move along.
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Re: Produce: Hiding the flaws

by Jenise » Wed Apr 26, 2006 1:44 pm

Bitch away!!! I spent $5 on a little clamshell package of "extra-sweet tomatoes" the other day only to find when I got home that four of the ten golf-ball sized jewels had to be thrown out. Really inexcusable considering the price I paid.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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David M. Bueker

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Re: Produce: Hiding the flaws

by David M. Bueker » Wed Apr 26, 2006 1:46 pm

Exactly! I cannot count how many times I have ended up with ooze and fuzz inside these closed packages of produce. I've taken a few of them back, and the responses from the prouce managers are pretty much "oh well."

But I need my veggies!

I may actually resort to a garden again this year, since my local "pick your own" farm is only open Friday-Sunday.
There behind the glass lies a real blade of grass. Be careful as you pass. Move along. Move along.
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Stuart Yaniger

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Re: Produce: Hiding the flaws

by Stuart Yaniger » Wed Apr 26, 2006 6:28 pm

Yeah, the packaged stuff is horrible AND a poor gamble. Even without the hidden crapola, I can't smell, feel, or (horror of horrors!) taste what I'm buying.

David, my sympathies. I also live in a town that has ZERO good food shopping options. It's a minimum of 50 miles of driving through heavy traffic to get to a proper grocery. The consolation is that our proper groceries are some of the very best in the world.
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Cynthia Wenslow

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Re: Produce: Hiding the flaws

by Cynthia Wenslow » Wed Apr 26, 2006 9:25 pm

I love Wegmans. I am currently living in New Mexico and there is nothing even close. (Unless one shops at Whole Paycheck, but who can afford that?)

Last week I purchased a 10 pound bag of red potatoes from a large-ish grocery chain here and within 2 days, 2!, half the bag was rotting. I was furious. Of course, the store in question is 40 miles from where I live and with gas being $3.07 a gallon here I didn't bother returning them. It would have cost me over $6.00 to return what cost me $4. (I bet the stores count on that. <-------- cynical)

I always have a rather large vegetable garden. Can't wait until planting time is here.
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Re: Produce: Hiding the flaws

by Cynthia Wenslow » Wed Apr 26, 2006 9:56 pm

John D. Zuccarino wrote:If they would build a condo attached to one I would live there.


LOL, John! Yeah, no kidding. It would be great. My uncle went to school with Danny and knows the family quite well, so we are always doubly glad to support them. A great company to work for too, by all accounts.
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Re: Produce: Hiding the flaws

by Robin Garr » Wed Apr 26, 2006 10:01 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:Why can't I at least get edible produce? I am not asking for perfection this time of year, just edibility. :evil:


Are there any local farm produce markets around where you live, David? They've gotten to be very common here, and while the quality can vary, at least you know you're getting organic and local, and you can pick through them and see what you're getting - no wrapped packages.

Also, don't your groceries have produce in open bins? Even the industrial-brand grocers (Kroger, Meijer's, etc.) around here do that. I never buy wrapped produce if I can help it.

I'm afraid I buy a lot at Whole Paycheck, too ... it's pricey, but doggone it, it's worth it.
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Bob Henrick

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Re: Produce: Hiding the flaws

by Bob Henrick » Wed Apr 26, 2006 10:35 pm

Has gasoline reached 5 bucks per gallon out there yet Stu, might be worthwile to plant your own somehow, even in containers.
Last edited by Bob Henrick on Thu Apr 27, 2006 9:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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David M. Bueker

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Re: Produce: Hiding the flaws

by David M. Bueker » Thu Apr 27, 2006 8:03 am

Not much in the way of farm market around here. They pretty much run only June-October, so for the rest of the year we are SOL.

I do alright with the open bin stuff, but some things are not available that way 'round these parts. It really is depressing.

Whole Foods is down in West Hartford, so it's a weekend option. I may resort to that in the future.

No Wegman's here yet. I've been to one in Baltimore & it's pretty impressive.
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Jenise

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Re: Produce: Hiding the flaws

by Jenise » Thu Apr 27, 2006 11:55 am

Whole Paycheck, a euphemism for WFM? Haven't heard that, it's hilarious. But speaking of that wonderful store, your Santa Fe WFM is one of the best WFM's I've ever been to.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Bill Spencer

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Not really ...

by Bill Spencer » Thu Apr 27, 2006 5:36 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:This is especially true of anything that comes in any sort of packaging. It's seems to all be desined to prevent me from knowing if what I am buying is any good.


%^)

Being ITB, at least at the grower/packer/shipper level, packaging cuts WAY down on the labor needed at the grocery store level to stock and re-stock the product ... it is also a way to get the consumer to buy MORE than the consumer most probably intended to buy ... as a farmer, my BEST customer is the garbage can !

But as a grower/packer/shipper, we have stringent rules we must adhere to as to freshness and quality, i.e., what goes into the package ... the problem is the distribution system - it SUCKS ! Two good examples would be my lemons produced and packed in Yuma and my farmer friends lettuce produced and packed in Yuma ... it goes by truck to a warehouse in Los Angeles or Phoenix, is off-loaded, inventoried, stored by date received, eventually loaded back on a truck headed to Yuma, off-loaded at the grocery store, inventoried, stored by date received, and then FINALLY moved from the storage area in the back of the store to the produce rack ... everytime the product "breaks" refrigeration, it allows condensation to form on the product which is a vector for mold spores and other critters to contaminate or break the product down ... for both food safety and food security reasons, all of our packaged product is coded ... it allows it to be pulled off the shelf in the case of a product recall ... but it ALSO lets me see how old my product is when I go to the store and just happen to glance at what used to be my pretty lemons or my farmer friends pretty lettuce mix ... I've found bagged lemons as old as three weeks from the date of pack ! Wonderful system, huh ? NOT !

You are much better off either buying from the bulk rack at a regular grocery store or going to a farmer's market if there's one in your area ...

Clink !

%^)
"If there are no dogs in heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went !" - Anonymous

Napa is for auto parts, Paso is for wine !

Bill Spencer (Arizona Wine Lover)

Lemon Recipes - http://www.associatedcitrus.com/recipes.html
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Jenise

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Re: Not really ...

by Jenise » Thu Apr 27, 2006 5:54 pm

I've found bagged lemons as old as three weeks from the date of pack


Bill, how much elapsed time would you consider normal for a lemon to get from your farm to a market in, say, Seattle?
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Bill Spencer

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Depends ...

by Bill Spencer » Fri Apr 28, 2006 12:14 pm

Jenise wrote:Bill, how much elapsed time would you consider normal for a lemon to get from your farm to a market in, say, Seattle?


%^)

If the lemons are on an ad, 2 days to get to Seattle, 1 day to off-load and inventory, 1 day to re-load and deliver to grocery store warehouse, 1 day to deliver to each store, and 1 day to receive and stock them on the store's produce rack ...

If the lemons are NOT on an ad, you could easily add 2 to 5 days to the whole process as the lemons would be more gradually worked through the above process ...

Clink !

%^)
"If there are no dogs in heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went !" - Anonymous

Napa is for auto parts, Paso is for wine !

Bill Spencer (Arizona Wine Lover)

Lemon Recipes - http://www.associatedcitrus.com/recipes.html
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Re: Depends ...

by Jenise » Fri Apr 28, 2006 12:58 pm

Bill, thanks, that's interesting. I've always presumed, particularly with something kind of hard-skinned like citrus fruit, that whatever I buy has been weeks, or months, away from the tree.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Not these days ...

by Bill Spencer » Fri Apr 28, 2006 1:43 pm

Jenise wrote:I've always presumed, particularly with something kind of hard-skinned like citrus fruit, that whatever I buy has been weeks, or months, away from the tree.


%^)

The infamous Wal-Mart instituted an inventory control system years ago that has been very successful for them and one of the main reasons you are seeing so many of the older grocery store chains either going out of business or being gobbled up by larger chains ... it's called "just in time inventory" ... Wal-Mart actually buys VERY little of the produce or anything else they sell themselves ... instead they "partner" with suppliers ... they demand that those suppliers give them "contract pricing" over a given time period ... also those "partnerships" are mostly very long term, i.e., years or even decades ... one of Wal-Mart's demands is that the supplier "manage' their inventory ... that means "don't EVER allow me to run out but DON'T allow me to inventory more than just a day or two or in the most extreme cases more than a week's worth of inventory ... just think what that means to Wal-Mart - in most cases they've sold the product and collected the money LONG before they've ever paid the supplier for the product ! It's one of the ways Wal-Mart is able to offer such cheaper prices than other retailers which do not practice "just in time inventory" ... and believe me - other retailers, grocery or otherwise are trying to copy their system in order to stay in business and compete with Wal-Mart but because Wal-Mart devised the system, the other retailers are WAY behind the curve and trying desperately to catch up ... many in the meantime are going out of business because they can't catch up fast enough ... I started with Wal-Mart over ten years ago ... I now supply almost a third of all the Wal-Mart's in the U.S. ! Between 20 and 25 percent of EVERYTHING I pack I sell to Wal-Mart ...

But the food service business is HUGE, too ... my second largest domestic customer after Wal-Mart is SYSCO ... and my third largest customer is the largest importer of fresh produce in Japan ... among just the three, between 50 and 60 percent of everything I grow, pack, and sell is sold to those three !

But the galloping rising cost of production, packaging, and shipping for the American farmer in the U.S. is forcing both domestic and export buyers "offshore" to foreign producers who can sell their product cheaper because they don't have the same costs I do, much less the cost of government regulations ... me and every other farmer in the U.S. is being squeezed ... rising costs here and trying to compete with cheaper foreign product ... believe me when I say that the American farmer is going the way of the 8 track tape - AWAY ! We are already overly dependent on foreign goods, including food, now ... when the "crash" comes, and believe me - it's coming, consumers across this country are going to wake up one morning and realize it has become a full time job just to buy what we know as "staples" today to keep our families fed, clothed, and everything else ...

Sorry the explanation turned into a mini-rant ... sometimes too much knowledge is dangerous !

Clink !

%^)
"If there are no dogs in heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went !" - Anonymous

Napa is for auto parts, Paso is for wine !

Bill Spencer (Arizona Wine Lover)

Lemon Recipes - http://www.associatedcitrus.com/recipes.html

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