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Thread: questions about farmers' market vs. grocery store fruit and vegetables page 2

  1. #11
    Special K's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bloodorchid View Post
    1, yes because it's naturally ripe and not artificially ripened with gas
    2, because it's not coated with wax or sprayed with chemicals or irradiated
    Are organic fruits ripened with gas, coated with wax, sprayed with chemicals and/or irradiated? In my experience, organic fruits and vegetables have just as long of a shelf life as their conventional counterparts.

    Quote Originally Posted by bloodorchid View Post
    3, fresh, ripe food tastes good
    Well yeah, but in this particular instance I thought the grocery store fruit tasted a lot better.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Damiana View Post
    1. I can't speak for all farmers' market products but generally the stuff there are in season and not artificially grown. The fruits do taste sweeter.
    Fair enough. I realize my sample size is miniscule here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Damiana View Post
    2. ^ what bloodorchid said. Grocery store produce is engineered to look pretty and stay that way. They're sprayed with gas to enhance the color and waxed within an inch of their life to look shiny and treated to last awhile on store shelves so they can be sold over time and not spoil easily and lose money for the store.
    Is this true of both conventional and organic produce? As I said in my previous post, the organic produce I buy at the grocery store seems to last just as long as their conventional counterparts.

    3. You bought one batch. It could be the one off basket of berries. One experience is not proof that something is definitive. I've bought berries at markets that have tastes terrible, I've bought berries at markets that have tasted great. Same for farmers markets. Experience varies.
    Fair enough. I realize this is only one experience. It just got me thinking about all the variables that go into growing food and how little I know about it.

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by loafingcactus View Post
    Regarding spoilage, your industrial farmer is going to take their product straight into refrigeration, and wash it with an antiseptic wash (with that much produce touching you have to to prevent large-scale contamination), and display it in an air conditioned building.
    Do both conventional and organic produce receive the antiseptic washes?

    Your local farmer may not have stored or transported the product in refrigeration, may not have used an antiseptic wash, and is displaying it on market day in a hot outdoor area and if it doesn't sell, the next day the same thing again.

    They have also likely used an natural ripening variety and picked it when it was ripe, rather than picking green and ripening in shipping.
    Makes sense.

    That said, while there are some foods that are far better from my market than my local store, I don't notice a difference in other foods and I've never had the total disappointing experience you report.
    Again, I realize this was only 1 experience and I won't give up on farmer's markets just because of this.

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by jujeki View Post
    also, do some digging as to which farmer you buy from at the farmers' market. Many farmers' markets are unregulated or have very little regulation. There are actually quite a few conventional farms at most farmers' markets.
    Thanks, I'll keep this in mind.

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kegas76 View Post
    It depends what you consider superior. Do you just want produce bred for maximum flavor or a product with a more natural flavor and probably a higher nutritional value?
    Interesting. I always assumed maximum flavor implied an overall better quality fruit.

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by oxide View Post
    In the Washington DC area, markets distingush between regular farmer's markets and "producer's markets." At a producer's market, you can only sell what you grow yourself. If it doesn't say "producer," then the all rules are off, and the vendor may have purchased the stuff at a produce auction. Check the website for your farmer's market; they are usually run by the county government. Or look on localharvest.org. They should tell you if it's a producer's market.

    Blackberries and strawberries are very touchy anyway. Some varieties are sweeter than others. Blackberries can be notoriously sour.
    I found the particular farmer's market on localharvest.org, but didn't see any official mention of it being a "producer's market". The description does seem to imply it, however.

    And was this recently? Good gosh, it's been 94 F in Austin the past week. Berries are going to spoil very quickly no matter how good they are/were.
    Yes, this was only a couple weekends ago.

  7. #17
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    One other thing I noticed: the strawberries at the farmer's market were much smaller than the ones I typically buy at the grocery store. While I would never have equated the size of the strawberries with the quality, it was something interesting that I noticed. I've seen giant packaged strawberries at the grocery store that were nearly 3" long. Do the industrial berry farms have access to superior seeds that produce strawberries that large? Is it some special technique they use? Or did the local farmer just deliberately choose to grow smaller strawberries?

  8. #18
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    I would imagine its more likely that the commercial farms have a size requirement for the strawberries that will be packaged for sale in stores. Smaller ones might be frozen or used for some other process.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Special K View Post
    One other thing I noticed: the strawberries at the farmer's market were much smaller than the ones I typically buy at the grocery store. While I would never have equated the size of the strawberries with the quality, it was something interesting that I noticed. I've seen giant packaged strawberries at the grocery store that were nearly 3" long. Do the industrial berry farms have access to superior seeds that produce strawberries that large? Is it some special technique they use? Or did the local farmer just deliberately choose to grow smaller strawberries?
    Frankenfruit. Hybridized varieties that are grown for their large size, sturdy flesh, resistance to decay. Perfectly clean, because they're grown hydroponically. And with ZERO flavor.

    Strawberries are a big crop here, but local berries are smaller and uglier than Frankenberries. And usually dirty from the soil they're grown in. But sooo sweet and juicy. Flavor overload. You have to refrigerate them right away, and use or preserve them within a couple of days or they turn to mush.
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    PrimalCon New York
    Another thing to point out is that most fruit and vegetables aren't really meant to last a particularly long time after they've been picked - unless, of course, they have a natural 'wrapping' like apples or potatoes. So soft fruit is always going to need to be eaten sooner than something like carrots, for example.

    Big-box grocery stores have figured out how to preserve the illusion of freshness so well that most people think produce - lettuce, for example - last much longer than they usually do.

    And I'm sure the organic stuff in stores has undergone a similar treatment to conventionally grown produce in terms of how it's been treated after it's been picked. How else could a supermarket expect it to have a large enough window to be able to sell it in?

    I may be completely wrong on that point, though, if anyone knows more about that?

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