Fruits and Vegetables – How Fresh is the Produce You Buy?

Fruits and Vegetables – How Fresh is the Produce You Buy?

Why People Don’t Eat Enough Fruits and Vegetables

fruits and vegetables
Veggie & Fruit Salad

Fruits and vegetables taste better when fresh. Your family may enjoy eating veggies and more fruit if they are truly farm-fresh. But how can you tell how fresh the produce is that you buy?

Reasons People Choose Not to Eat Fruits or Vegetables

Why do people not like fruits or vegetables? There are various reasons, such as the ones listed below, why people do not care for them.  Common gripes about having to eat vegetables or fruit:

  1. “I don’t like the texture.”
  2. “People are accustomed to eating crappy food.”
  3. “Fruits and vegetables don’t taste good.”
  4. “They are boring.”
  5. “We didn’t eat them at home when I was growing up.”
  6. “Eating plenty of fruit and vegetables every day gets expensive.”
  7. “Change is hard.”
  8. “Vegetables don’t always taste good.”
  9. “It’s not filling. You eat it and are hungry an hour later.”`

Do any of these reasons fit you? If so, consider using a little creativity to incorporate vegetables and fruit into your weekly meal plans. In addition, come up with exciting recipes. Have fun doing meal prep for your family. Make entrees look inviting. You could easily (and pleasantly) change attitudes your husband/wife and/or children currently maintain when it comes to consuming veggies and fruit.

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The Taste of Food Determines Our Food Choices

How many members of your family refuse to eat fruits or veggies because of the way they taste? Parents are supposed to set an example, but it’s awfully difficult to enjoy a tasteless fruit snack or vegetable side dish. It’s true that when parents tend to not eat vegetables or fruit, their children probably won’t either. But our choices in types of food to eat are often determined on how it tastes.

Ever bite into an apple that had no juicy flavor in it? You’d quickly notice how blah it was and throw it away. And if you’d ever visited an apple orchard or grown an apple tree in your backyard, you would hesitate before purchasing supermarket apples. Of course, anybody who tastes a dull-flavored apple, peach, or tomato, for example, would be apt to leave either of those items off of future grocery lists.

Fall Apples
Fall Pink Lady Apples

Supermarket peaches, for instance, often feel hard to the touch. They aren’t as tasty as juicy ripe peaches taken directly from the tree. Keep in mind, though, that if you purchase one from a fruit stand on the side of the road, you’d better eat it or can it soon. That’s because it’s 100% fresh – and it will go bad if ignored for more than two or three days. Learn more on how long a batch of peaches will last by reading tips that stilltasty.com has to offer.

Speaking of apples, it is October and fall season – perfect time to make apple pies! Prefer peach dessert instead of apple? Although summer is the season for peaches, you can still find them in the fresh produce or frozen sections at the supermarkets. Bake a cobbler in the oven or in a slow cooker (you can also find a pressure cooker with a slow cooker mode as well).

peach cobbler, slow cooker
Southern-Style Light Peach Cobbler

Moms, or dads, whoever does the cooking in the home, try to prepare healthy foods for themselves and their children. However, the fruit goes bad because nobody is eating them. The vegetables aren’t seasoned well and are either tossed down the garbage disposal or stored in the fridge. But the food loses its savor and takes up room in the refrigerator. Finally, it ends up being thrown out.

Experiment with herbs and spices. Well-seasoned food tastes wonderful. A little salt goes a long way, incidentally. Learn to appreciate vegetables and fresh fruit with natural seasonings, and use salt sparingly.

Organic No-Salt Herbs and Spices

Once you try out different herbs and spices on your vegetables, you’ll learn which ones are your favorites. One of the best brands with a blend of seasonings and no salt is one called Six Seasonings by Santa Fe Seasons. It can be used for nearly any kind of vegetable or meat, but it isn’t easy to find. Other than your local supermarket spices aisle, shop on Amazon. Here are four excellent no-salt seasoning blends to keep in the pantry:

 

 

salt-free seasonings
A Salt-Free Blend by Simply Organic
salt-free seasonings
A Salt-Free Organic Seasoning Blend by The Spice Hunter
salt-free seasonings
Salt Free Paleo Powder Herbed
salt-free seasoning
Bragg Organic Seasoning

             

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Supermarket Produce vs. Roadside Stands/Farmers Markets

You don’t need to be a food scientist to tell that there’s a difference between the taste of many of the fresh fruits and vegetables at the supermarket from those at roadside stands or farmers markets. You just have to search for the best ones. Like the ripest. Not bruised. And not so hard that you have to wait a week to eat them.

This is not to say that all produce sold at grocery stores are poor choices. Ideally, we should all grow our own organic gardens. Realistically, however, we live in a busy society and have hectic schedules. Therefore, supermarkets are a necessity. What would we do without them?

Average Spending on Fresh Vegetables

According to Tom Karst, editor-in-chief for The Packer, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported an average spending on fresh vegetables for all U.S. households of $259 between the year 2016-2017. That’s approximately $21.58 per month and $5.40 per week. In other words, fruits and vegetables aren’t showing up as top priority foods on Americans’ grocery lists.

The reason could be that our fruits and veggies aren’t as fresh and simply don’t appeal to our taste buds. It makes sense, therefore, to shop at roadside stands like Pickett’s Plants & Produce on Highway 69 in Alba, Texas for fresh fruits and vegetables.

roadside produce stands
Pickett’s Plants & Produce, Alba, Texas
fresh vegetables
Fresh vegetables at Pickett’s Plants & Produce

Most of the produce sold at Pickett’s (in business at this location for twenty years) is grown by local farmers. Farmers markets and roadside stands are open year-round in some states, but in other states, they close for the colder months.

roadside vegetable stands
Pickett’s Plants & Produce

Pickett’s is open from around March 1st through the end of October. The produce stand’s busiest times, says Amanda from the Alba location, are “April (when everyone is planting shrubs and trees) and June through August (when all the produce is coming in).”

Fortunately, you can still find fresh tomatoes (nothing like sitting down to a homegrown juicy tomato slice sprinkled with salt and pepper), potatoes, and onions at this East Texas vegetable and fruit stand. Most popular in October? Apples and sweet potatoes.

Amanda at Pickett’s explains that you can tell if a watermelon is ripe by hearing a hollow sound when tapping on it.

How to tell if a watermelon is ripe
Amanda at Pickett’s
If you’re ever in the Emory, Texas or Mineola, Texas vicinities,  visit Pickett’s in the Alba community. By the way, you’ll love the homemade ice cream made by Amanda’s mom in the summer. She makes peach, strawberry, and tropical (vanilla with crushed pineapple, bananas, and pecans). Pickett’s offers shipping (though that could get expensive, depending on the location). So if you’re not from Texas or planning on a trip to the Pickett’s area, look for a local farmers market. Check out the roadside produce stands in your community. Then the rest of the time, always look for the freshest, most ripe, and best-looking vegetables and fruit at your grocery store.

A special thanks to Amanda from Pickett’s Plants & Produce for permission to publish the information and photos at Pickett’s.

Pickett's Plants & Produce
Amanda at Pickett’s Plants & Produce

How to Find Food Grown Locally Near You

Want to know where to find fresh farm food grown in your local area? The following five resources offer helpful information about local farmers markets and locally-grown food.

  1. Visit LocalHarvest online, and enter your zip code to learn about the places in your area that sell food grown on local farms. You’ll discover farmers markets, restaurants that use locally-grown food, grocery/co-op, farm stands similar to Pickett’s Plants & Produce and much more.
  2. North Country Vitals – This is a regional health and wellness group in Northern New York. This informative website offers a “Harvest of the Month” section listing a fruit or vegetable with its nutritional information.
  3. Whole Foods Market – You can browse producers by the state on the home page of this website.
  4. USDA provides a National Farmers Market Directory where you can search for your state, and you can locate farmers markets in your area.
  5. FACT (Food Animal Concerns Trust) – If you live in the Chicago, New York, Washington D.C., or Los Angeles vicinities, check out this site to learn about guides for humane restaurants in those areas. FACT also gives information about farmers markets, CSA, humane food labels, and humane farms.

Support your local farmers. Learn about the nutrition of fruits and vegetables, and create new recipes that you and your family will enjoy.

Eat nutritious food, and live a healthy life!

 

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