Reply Wed 2 Jan, 2008 11:56 am
I have been looking at several grocery stores lately and I have noticed something rather odd.

It seems to me that when it comes to variety, we don't have a lot in the produce section anymore.

It is almost as if lettuce,broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers, potatoes , citrus fruit, apples, bananas, spinach, mushrooms, squash, eggplants , carrots , onions and seasoning herbs are all there is to eat.

granted, there are a few other choices, but not much.

This has been the same in every store except for your more 'exotic' or 'yuppy' stores.

Am I missing something, or are we not supposed to eat a real wide variety of foods?
How can we do that with so little choice?


If you eat too much of something, your body stops pulling what it needs from that item and moves on. Essentially, you body is on overdose of.. (example) broccoli.
It is important to eat something for a little while, then eat something else.

Picking something like broccoli once a month, enables your body to get the most of the vegetable when you do eat it.

Im no health expert my any means, but to me this limitation of foods is alarming.
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contrex
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Jan, 2008 12:24 pm
Depends where you live. I live in a large European city and I can buy many a huge variety of vegetables and fruit in markets or in stores, but go to a small place 20 miles away and the choice is less.
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Jan, 2008 12:44 pm
Well, I suppose it depends as well on customer demands: the market in town (twice weekly) offers a really great variety on local products as well as in fruits and vegetables from all over Europe and elsewhere.

Same in the major supermarkets, which have an even larger selection in organic fruits and vegatables than on the market (we've only self-produced organic fruit/vegetables on the market).

In my native town (smaller, only 20,000), they've only one supermarket with a really large selection - as we have in our village here, since our supermarket has the same owner as in my native town (was in Germany's top 50 list for fruit/vegetable).
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Chai
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Jan, 2008 12:58 pm
Good topic shewolf. I wonder the same thing.

It seems sometimes like the vegs you mentioned, especially broccoli for some reason, has become the standard for what people are supposed to like.

To be honest? I think lettuce is just some filler, broccoli is no more than "ok", I eat it maybe ½ doz times a year. Cauliflower gives me a stomach ache, bells peppers are for fajitas or some asian dishes…otherwise doesn't seem to compliment anything. Apples and oranges get boring, and I really only like winter squash, summer squash is yucky. Both summer squash and eggplant, in my opinion, have to be doctored up so much to taste like anything, I might as well forego the vegetable and just eat what I had to put into it to make it palatable.

Yet, I seem to eat plenty of vegetables. Rutabaga, brussel sprouts, tomatoes that are Real tomatoes, a good organic cucumber that doesn't just taste like water, beets, jicama, sweet potato, corn, etc.

When I think of the vegetables I like, I think about my grandmother, who was really Old World. She would feed me things that I know a lot of people nowadays would consider gross. Things like herring, roe, some of the vegetables above, chicken that wasn't just the breast, but the whole bird, that had stewed and was falling off the bones.

It was good not to be so picky. To say, "eat the rest of that cabbage and finish that fish…but watch out for the bones" not "oh, I'll only eat the crowns of the broccoli, and a salmon steak, skinless."
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Chai
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Jan, 2008 01:00 pm
Walter, could you please name some of the vegetables that are sold at these markets?

What is the variety available?
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Jan, 2008 02:00 pm
Well, actually now you get here in the supermarket in the village (because I've been there this afternoon) about 6, 7 various kinds of salads, five different kinds of mushrooms, six different cabbages, sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, two kinds of carrots, six variations of tomatoes, six varieties of chili/pepper, three kinds of asparus and ... well, there might be more.

Most is sold in organic quality as well, but no aspurgus, no sald (at least not today), only three kinds of tomotoes, no organic mushrooms.


The supermarket in town where I buy more regularily has about the same variety, a bit cheaper, and a larger selection in organic products.

There are two green groceries in town, which a larger selection; they sell on the market, too.
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Chai
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Jan, 2008 02:07 pm
hmmm...that sounds about the same as we have here...except we have maybe 3 kinds of cabbage (red, green & savoy), and only 1 type of asparagus.

We have different varities of salad greens, tomatoes, mushrooms peppers...

I was thinking different species of vegetables.
0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Jan, 2008 02:13 pm
Seek out your local farmer's market and ye shall be set free from boring veggies!



If that doesn't work, try Trader Joe's if you have any near you.


If that doesn't work, ask the person in the produce department to special order you some stuff. I did this with the folks at Safeway, asked them to order in some sunchokes (Jersulem artichokes). They did, and even put a bunch of it out on display. I bought a lot of it. Unfortunately, they didn't reorder due to lack of demand so I'll have to ask them to special order it again next time I get the craving.
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mac11
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Jan, 2008 02:17 pm
I agree that my regular grocery store seems to have less and less to choose from. And the selection is always less in winter anyway.

I occasionally go to Central Market just to ogle the produce. Eight kinds of radishes, ten kinds of carrots, etc. I don't buy a lot, but the variety is amazing.
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mac11
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Jan, 2008 02:18 pm
Butrflynet wrote:
If that doesn't work, try Trader Joe's if you have any near you.


Sadly, we have no Trader Joe's in Texas.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Jan, 2008 02:21 pm
It's not an option here, but if you can become a member of a CSA (community supported agriculture) group, consider it.

http://www.localharvest.org/

(there's a spot to find your closest CSA)

This is especially good if you're a proponent of the 100-mile approach to cooking/sourcing.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Jan, 2008 02:24 pm
Chai wrote:
I was thinking different species of vegetables.


I suppose, I didn't list all (and not correctly, too) :wink:

I forget endive (kind of salad, isn't it?), chicoree, the various onions, artichoc, andovies, kumara etc.

But besides chicoree and onions I usually don't buy anything from the above.


As an aside: what you call in the USA 'farmer market' is the normal market here. Only in a few larger places, where the weekly markets are more 'street markets' you find special farmers' market.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Jan, 2008 02:28 pm
Similar to what ehBeth writes above: you can "subscribe" to a couple of producers, especially organic producer, and a get "a basket" per week (with fruitt/vegetables you ordered before).

But since those are on the market as well, it's cheaper to buy there (or directly in the shops on the farms/nurseries).
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Jan, 2008 02:30 pm
Most CSA's don't allow you to order anything other than the size of the container you'll be getting each week. The farmer decides what s/he grows and what you get.

You can indicate preferences with some CSA's, but ultimately it's up to the farmer.
0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Jan, 2008 02:40 pm
Here's a list of Farmer's Markets in Texas sorted by city:

http://www.picktexas.com/farm_market/farmers_market2.htm

List of local produce availability by month:

http://www.picktexas.com/product/produce_avail_main.htm

That website also has pick-your-own location listings as well as road-side stands at the pick-your-own locations.
0 Replies
 
Chai
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Jan, 2008 02:53 pm
Moving back to the first couple of posts...

I don't so much see it as a supply problem, I know where to go to buy vegetables and fruit, I know where most of the farmers markets are.

I see it as a situation where so many people are either satisified with or unwilling to try some exotic vegetable, such as a beet.

There are so many people for whom going outside of lettuce, broccoli and carrot is unknown, and that is the way they want it to stay.

It's what I think of as the "Appleby's Syndrome"

Getting so used to mediocre food it becomes your preference.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Jan, 2008 03:03 pm
I suppose, it has a lot to do where you live, too: beet isn't exoctic here at all - but since it was the only 'vegetable' for many at the end of the war, ... I don't think many like it (though some restaurants now offer beet again) :wink:
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Jan, 2008 03:13 pm
Chai wrote:
Getting so used to mediocre food it becomes your preference.


Availability of a variety of vegetables isn't the same as the preparation of vegetables.

Carrots can be fantastic if well-prepared, so can broccoli. Lettuce and other salad greens have a number of interesting applications. What we choose to do with what's available is sometimes as important as what is available.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Jan, 2008 03:20 pm
Re: Vegetable varieties
shewolfnm wrote:
Am I missing something, or are we not supposed to eat a real wide variety of foods?


Not really. If you go with the 100-mile approach, which is supposed to be the healthiest, most globe-friendly approach to eating, you'd be much more limited in your selections.

I'm not a huge fan of the 100-mile thingie, as I'd hate to give up citrus in winter, but I do see how it makes sense.

Head out to the library for the Omnivore's Dilemma or any of Michael Pollan's other books.

If you're interested in food politics, start by reading his NYT essays linked at the bottom of this wikipage

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Pollan
0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Jan, 2008 03:23 pm
When most households are struggling just to get families to EAT fresh veggies and fruits they stick with where their successes are. Trying to introduce the exotics to a family that barely tolerates carrots or apples would be self-defeating.

The affordability factor also comes into play. Farming has become a very expensive endeavor for all but huge commercial corporations. If a small farmer wants to make a profit, they grow the more popular produce for commercial sales. That enables them to subsidize the growing of the seasonal exotics for local distribution only. And even that suffers when local economies take a dive.

Right now many people consider most food as only a means for eating the more tasty sauces and seasonings used to hide the bad quality of the varieites and production methods. Commerical produce has no taste. You have to enhance it with sauces and seasonings.


Time to get back to growing our own.


http://timssquarefootgarden.com/ww2poster1.jpg
 

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