Peeved in Produce

March 24, 2009

It isn’t easy being green in the produce aisle. I started my campaign with the produce manager in my favorite supermarket years ago when sprinkler systems were installed to keep salad greens and other veggies, like celery, broccoli, and bok choy, “looking fresh.”

Here’s the problem: limp, soggy, rusty looking heads of lettuce that suffer from over-misting! And they actually sell these! Trying to get soggy lettuce to crisp up again once you get it home is an exercise in futility because after being sprayed to death frequently during the day, the cell structure of the leaves have had it!

So whenever I am in the supermarket, I head right for the call button in the produce department. That usually summons a sleepy looking employee who would rather be somewhere else. They’re barely able to mumble, “May I help you?” before I start in on my rant about sprayed soaked produce.

It has gotten so bad that I try to time my arrival at the lettuce section, looking for the least wet head and snatching what I want seconds before the sprayer goes on again!

I know I am picky but that’s because in garden season, I have my pick of perfect lettuce from Guy’s garden. So when I have to buy lettuce in the supermarket, I do so begrudgingly!

My answer to all this is to only buy lettuce still attached to its root ball, like Boston bibb, and enclosed in plastic to protect it from drowning in the mist.

Or choose those plastic containers of mixed greens. Any loose, unwrapped heads of lettuce should be avoided because you’ll be throwing most of it away when you get home.

Now, my next campaign will be to ask how often the water hoses used to mist the veggies are cleaned and changed!

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