The Yellow-Beans Suck! – Getting Fruit and Vegetables Year-Round?

By March 11, 2020 Fresh Ideas

The Yellow-Beans Suck!

We have string beans on our list of options for our meal plans.  Often, they are green and sometimes they are yellow.  Other than colour, is there a difference?  We’re not sure but we don’t discriminate.  A customer asked for yellow-beans in a meal combo order this week and we went out looking. 

We shop at any and all local stores, first.  Well, there wasn’t a decent yellow-bean to be found in Amherst.  If we look at the products on the shelf and don’t think the product is of sufficient quality for us, or you, we won’t buy it.  That customer was really smart and added alternates to their order, so we were in luck.  But, [rhetorical question:] What are they (the grocery stores) thinking?  String beans are expensive.  We don’t want to buy them at $5/bag and then throw half of them away. Here is an example of Green-Beans that 1/2 have gone rusty and woody:

A couple times this winter we didn’t want to bother buying ‘the tomatoes’, the zucchini, the plums, the carrots, the beets (even), the asparagus… they were gross.  We buy our produce at the same local stores as our customers.  Because we’re so small, there is no benefit to ordering from an industrial supplier.  We buy the same groceries as the general public. Same price and everything.

We’ve also received mediocre quality products from SYSCO and GFS because we can’t see or handle the product before buying.  For example: a 50lb bag of carrots is almost always comprised of giant, fairly woody vegetables.  Not the best for flavour or even texture.  It’s just ‘volume’.

The ‘50% off rack’ is often full of veg or fruits that show the character of being shipped thousands of kilometers to get here.  They are fully ripe or overly-ripe, have been beaten against boxes, stacked too high, sat too long, been picked over…etc.  In fact, in our own home we were able to use about 50% of the volume we bought for 50% off!  They aren’t doing us any favours by marking it down.  They’re just recovering loss, but who can blame them.  Consider, though, how much time it takes to ‘cut away the ‘bad parts’, and how much waste is generated.  It wasn’t worth it for us. 

We love the ‘naturally imperfect’ products and ‘Individual Quick Frozen (IQF)’ fruits and veg.  We feel that in many cases there is little sacrificed in quality and flavour.  In some cases there is a difference, but for many items, there is little difference between IQF and fresh.  In fact, we would prefer a frozen product over something wax-coated or sprayed with preservatives, if freezing has minimal effect on the item itself, for our purposes (e.g. IQF Blueberries for Barbecue Sauce).

That said, we expect all our favourite veg and fruit to be available, at all times!  Us Too! Nothing to feel bad about.  We’re accustomed to being able to get pretty fruits and veg year ‘round.  In the fall, we did a ‘roasted root veg’ special that was popular.  I can see that coming again soon.  We simply can’t expect all fruits and veg year ‘round without an added cost.  We, at D&E’s, don’t know much about how food is transported in order to get here ‘ripe, but not overly’, right on time.  We’re sure it’s a mixture of art and science, but not ours.

This is why we switch from ‘Summer Dream’ Salad (Blueberry/Strawberry and Coconut Garnish) to ‘Magic Salad’ (Roasted Beet/Walnut Garnish) for the winter.  The transportation of South American Strawberries and Blueberries is expensive and the tender skins don’t survive well.  So, we pay more, and the quality is low.  Not a great trade-off.  

We’re looking forward to being able to buy local too!

Dan Corbett

Author Dan Corbett

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