Friday, January 29, 2010

Are there bad-produce days?

NJ - Bergen County - Ridgefield: Super H-Mart ...Image by wallyg via Flickr

If humans have bad-hair days, do supermarkets have bad-produce days? I certainly thought so yesterday when I stopped at H Mart in Little Ferry to pick up some greens for dinner (photo shows Ridgefield store).

I have purchased collard greens from this large Korean market several times, but yesterday, the leaves were blemished. As I strolled along the aisle, looking at the large selection of leafy greens and Chinese vegetables, nothing looked very appealing -- wilted, shriveled and so forth.

Another shopper, an American woman, came over and asked the produce stocker if there were more eggplants in the back, explaining the ones she saw were soft. Same for the red peppers. He said no. She went back and managed to find some firm eggplant. I spoke to her and she suggested Thursday wasn't a good day to shop there for produce.

Finally, I saw two heads of fresh spinach at $1.29 each that looked as if they had been put out that day, and grabbed them.  I had already picked up a 5-pound box of large Spanish clementines for $6.99, rejecting smaller Spanish clementines nearby that had seen better days and were priced $1 higher. That was odd -- two prices for the same item.

The selection of delicious prepared food was as good as ever: stewed tofu seasoned with a red-pepper sauce ($3.99) and stewed Alaskan pollack with onions and hot peppers ($4.99).

For dinner, I cut, rinsed and blanched the spinach leaves, then sauteed them in a little extra-virgin olive oil and seasoned them with salt, black pepper and mixed organic spices (Costco).

I served them with an imported vegetarian Indian dinner for two of basmati rice, coconut curry sauce and spiced chickpeas ($3.99 at Target in Paramus) and home-made baked crab cakes, using a pound of lump crab meat from Costco.

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  1. It's so unfortunate with the produce these days :(

  2. You'd think stores could do better in view of how produce is their most profitable item, which is why you encounter it first.

  3. I purchased some produce lately that only lasted a few days - cucumbers and tomatoes. I am starting to think some of these stores are storing this produce at very low temperatures to keep them looking decent and then put them out and they spoil in just a few days.

  4. Yes. You're right. They hold them a long time at the wrong temperature, and they can spoil overnight in some cases.


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