The next time you’re making a mad dash between aisles in the grocery store looking for stuff to put in your juicer, take a really good look around at the vegetables and fruit department in the store. The produce will be laid out perfectly and will look ever so appealing.
Underneath the aesthetics of the department, however, lies a secret that you’ll need to know and it may affect where you continue to shop for your fruits and veggies.
Where the fruit comes from
When you’re in the aisle, take a moment to pick up a tomato. Give it a gentle squeeze and smell it. These are the types of tomatoes that you’ve probably been brought up with and are probably quite used to the feel, taste and smell of this fruit.
In truth, this tomato may have been genetically modified, picked from the vine when it was still green, and then given a good spraying of CO2 to make it turn red during a thousand mile ride in a truck to arrive at the end destination. This end destination isn’t even the supermarket – it’s a warehouse where the tomatoes will be sorted and then put on other trucks to be taken to the grocery stores.
After all of this turmoil you might be wondering why that tomato that you’re holding in your hand isn’t completely bruised and disfigured. It has been through a battle and still has to undergo the journey to your home and into your refrigerator. The reason why a grocery store hybrid tomato can hold up to all this abuse is it has been bred to have a thicker skin and a sturdier flesh than “regular” tomatoes.
These improvements are great for farmers and retail outlets that need to make a profit from the sale of produce but they don’t do anything for the average consumer except to save costs and provide convenience. The improvements made to tomatoes compromise the nutrients, flavor and smell of the fruit. In the end, it is your health that is making the extreme sacrifice when you buy your veggies and fruit at a local retail supermarket.
Tomatoes were only used as an example of the different changes and modifications that are made to vegetables and fruits in order to supply them easily to the public. In order to get the freshest, juiciest and purest vegetables and fruits your best option is to start shopping at a local farmers market.
If you don’t know where one is in your area, take a look here. When you purchase your produce from a local market, you are not only supplying yourself and your family with healthy food but you are also helping to support your local community.
The produce sold at these markets is fresh and often picked the day before the market is held. Using the tomato as an example, you can feel, smell and taste a remarkable difference when you pick one up at a local stall in the market.
This fruit would have been picked once it was ripe and ready, which means that it contains the nutrients that it is supposed to have since it was allowed to finish its growth process. A lot of farmers that show up at these markets are also offering organic produce that are free of toxic chemicals. You will also get a lot more juice from the produce at the farmers market and it will be bursting with nutrients compared to the produce from the grocery store.
Getting the most value for your money
The prices at farmers markets are extremely competitive compared to what you would have to pay at a grocery store. The sellers are receiving direct profits from the sale and don’t have to inflate the prices to take shipping and warehousing expenses into account. What you see is what you get and what you eat will be better for your body than anything you could ever buy in a grocery store.
You know that you are supposed to eat a certain amount of fruits and vegetables per day to keep your body healthy and we juicers want to get even more. The reason you are pulling out your wallet and laying out your money for this produce is for the nutritional value it supplies and for the delicious taste it provides.
It makes a lot of sense to shop locally for most of your fruits and vegetables. This is how you can honestly end up with true value for your money. It’s not just a tomato that you’re buying – it’s the taste and the nutritional value that’s in it.
Tips to save money
Here are some helpful money-saving tips to help you with your fruit and vegetable shopping:
Buy in bulk to freeze later
Different fruits and vegetables are in season at various times of the year. When they are in season, you can usually get incredible deals on your produce. By stocking up on fruits or veggies that are cheap and then freezing them for later use, you’ll not only save all kinds of money but you’ll also have a larger variety of food available during the off-season months.
Find out more about the produce that can be frozen and make sure that you are always stocked up on freezer bags. Some fruits and veggies that can be frozen include carrots, corn, raspberries, beans, and strawberries, just to name a few. Here’s a good article that gets into more specific about freezing fruits and vegetables.
Avoid damaged produce
Bruises and cuts on food items from handling damage can speed up decay. Always take the time to inspect the food you’re buying before putting it in your bag. Fruits and vegetables that are perfectly intact will last a longer than damaged goods.
Buy a colorful selection
If you’re loading up your cart with only green vegetables, you are missing out on valuable phytochemicals that are available in other fruits and vegetables. Mother Nature has supplied us with a colorful selection of produce and has actually taken the next step forward and has grouped many nutrients into items of the same color.
This can get quite complicated and complex and instead of trying to figure out exactly what fruits and veggies contain the right amount of nutrients you need, just start shopping for items of different colors. This way you’ll get a better selection of minerals and vitamins. Load up your shopping basket with a rainbow of items that may include green leafy vegetables, yellow, orange, red or green peppers, orange carrots, green celery, purple eggplant, blueberries etc.
Create fruit bowls and vegetable platters too
Every fruit and vegetable that you eat doesn’t have to be juiced. Make a habit of shopping for quick and easy fruits and vegetables that can be placed in a bowl or on a platter and be served as an on-the-go treat.
The fruit bowl can sit right on the kitchen table so that both big and little hands can reach for a fruit as a healthy snack. A vegetable platter can be left in the fridge and be taken out when you’re hungry or your children are asking when supper will be ready and need a small snack to see them through until dinner time.
It’s not all about juicing and following a list
While it’s always a good idea to shop with a list, it’s not always easy to predict what types of fruits and vegetables are going to be available at certain times of the year. It’s fine to bring a shopping list along with you but you should also be willing to be flexible with it. If you find that carrots are being offered for a steal of a price but you don’t have them on your list, you should pick some up anyway. By using some flexibility you’ll be able to modify your menu to include these carrots for the week and can save a lot of money by doing so. The extra carrots can be frozen and stored for future use.
Fruits and vegetables should always be placed at the top of your list when it comes to providing your family with healthy food choices. It’s a good idea to plan your juices around the produce that you can find in season and then work around that. For example, if you see a great deal on cabbage one week, maybe it’s time to whip up a fantastic cabbage based drink and make a cabbage stew as well.
If you see eggplant on sale you can take a look at exotic new recipes that can bring this food up to a brand-new level on your plate. No, don’t try to juice an eggplant but don’t limit yourself to foods that can be juiced. Just remember to shop smart and look for the best value for your buck by purchasing produce that actually contains the nutrients your body so desperately needs.