Welcome to the next instalment of The Commissary Diaries.
There are so many things I have been learing since becoming the Produce Man. Not only have I learned some interesting things about produce but I have learned a lot about “you” the customer. Let’s attack both topics at the same time.
If I didn’t get the same nerve killing questions about some of the produce that I thought was common knowledge, I wouldn’t have done some research. My research consisted of me doing hands on taste testing of some items and then some actual knowledge search on the interwebz.
Have you ever gone to the grocery store and had a list of ingredients for a recipe you have never tried before and realize once you skower the entire store they don’t have that specific item your recipe calls for? Yeah, me neither…..
The other day I happened to be the only one on the floor stocking product and had this sweet young lady come up to me. “May I ask you a question about apples?” Sure, what is it? “What is a Braeburn and do you have any?” Well unfortunately; or fortunately, depending on your opinion on Braeburn apples, we didn’t have any. I don’t like them and that is my opinion. They are dirty looking and there usually isn’t a lot of sweetness to the ones I have tried. I’m hooked on the Jazz apple. Sweet and has a great “bite” to them. Plus they are not so huge that they could be considered a meal in themselves. The lady was hesitant in trying the Jazz in her recipe but I had tried what she was making (pork chops/sauerkraut/apples). In that meal any apple would work. But I don’t think she even knew she was looking for apples. She was like, oh it’s an apple with pork?!?
OK so I broke out into a story there instead of telling you about my research. Do you know how many different kinds of apples there are? I don’t either! There are so many. How about what is the difference between chives and the green ends to green onions? Can you substitute one for the other? Whats the difference between table grapes and wine grapes? How do you pick a good melon, avocado, grapefruit, or tomatillo? I did the research, now it’s your turn! Or you could ask your local produce man, me.
So many questions to prep for and so little time. It’s a good thing I cook and eat most of this stuff.
So I have a question for you all…..What in the world do you guys do with all those bananas you buy? Seriously! I put out 10 cases of bananas the other day, each case consisting of 16 bunches with an average of 6 bananas per bunch and I go in the back to crush the boxes and I need more bananas 10 minutes later! And that was on top of the other 16 cases that were already out there. Seriously, stop buying bananas! I’m just kiding….go ahead and get your bananas on.
Did you know that bananas are at one of the top-selling items at grocery stores and they happen to be the #1 seller at Wal-Mart? I know, I know! I just blew your mind. It’s one of the few things Wal-Mart sells that doesn’t come from China. Oh and here is another mind blower….most of our garlic…comes from China. I know! Ka-Pow goes your mind!
OK, one more thing here. If you ever get a chance to try Japanese yams….do it! They are awesome. I have a great recipe for ya if you ever get some. Here is a pic of one beside a regular yam….
I leave you here with this Last thing, a produce tip: always pick from the back of the pile! That’s where the fresh items are or should be. Another clue to whether or not it is fresh, is if it feels colder compared to the other items, that means it just came from the back. The refrigeration in the back warehouse is cooler than the produce line units.
Until next time…..Don’t squeeze the avocados!