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Kitchen Notebook

June 07, 2018

Why Farm Fresh Produce Doesn't Last as Long

60 Mins

You may have noticed that even though our produce is fresher than what you buy in the grocery store, it doesn't last quite as long in your fridge. Here's why and how you can combat it!

1. Our produce is not treated. 

Starting with the crops still on the plant, many large produce companies spray their fruits and veggies with chemicals to combat rot, pests and fungus. The sprays and treatments continue during transport and in the grocery store to increase shelf life. Our produce is grown organically or with transitional or integrated pest management techniques so any sprays they may use (and many use none!) easily wash off and are safer for the environment, wildlife, and us, but may not protect and preserve the produce as much as conventional sprays do.  

2. Our fruit is not waxed.

While a shiny apple or orange is surely a nice sight, this is often brought about by coating the fruit in wax. While the wax also prevents the fruit from drying out or  getting bruised or damaged so easily, we think it's not so good to eat!

3. Our produce is picked closer to full ripeness. 

International and non-local produce is often picked when completely unripe so it has time to ripen in transit or while waiting to be sold at the store. Some items like bananas, are later tricked into ripening by being exposed to gas. The produce from our farms stays on the tree or in the field until it's just ready to be eaten, then starts it's journey to you. Since the farmer is the one making the decision to pick the food at the perfect time, you know the taste will also be at it's best!

4. Our heirloom, non-GMO varietals taste better but may not last as long. 

Lots of produce has been bred for centuries with an eye to lasting longer. Some heirloom varietals, most noticeably in strawberries and fruit, are way more delicate than their grocery store counterparts. We find their flavor incomparable, just more reason you'll want to eat it faster!

So what can do you to combat this? 

Make sure to store your produce properly! Be sure to put your box away as soon as you can to keep your produce cold. Greens and herbs should stay dry, don't wash them until you're ready to eat them. Delicate items like berries can last longer with a quick wash of 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water, it acts similar to a spray but it's all natural! Lastly, watch out for produce that releases lots of ethylene gas. This gas is released as produce ripens and speeds ripening along. Apples, mushrooms, and many types of fruit release this, while asparagus, broccoli, cucumbers, and many veggies are sensitive to it so keep this in mind when storing produce (or use to your advantage for unripe items!)

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