I was in a local grocery store last night, and I peeked as I walked by their fresh vegetables.
Ack! Shock! As a vegetable grower and seller, I honestly was appalled. If my green beans and summer squash looked like that, they would end up in my compost pile... I would never, ever sell them to customers. They were so far gone I don't even know if I would have kept them for my own family! Honestly, it was quite a shocker for me.
I wonder how long ago those vegetables were picked, how far they were shipped, how long they have been sitting in the grocery store. By their condition, I would guess weeks.
When I harvest vegetables for sale at farmers market, they are harvested within 36 hours of sale. I only allow the best-looking vegetables to make it to market (saving those that aren't perfect for my family), I wash everything that I possibly can (some things, like fresh green beans, shouldn't be washed ahead of cooking time). I then bag it all. Yes, it's a lot of work, but when I taste the vegetables or hear comments from my customers - it's worth it all. Real food is wonderful, and I'm proud to grow it.
Honestly, what an eye-opener for me. I tend to forget how far superior fresh, local foods really are. If you want to taste real vegetables, heirloom varieties grown organically, visit me at the Freeport Farmers Market on Saturday mornings. I promise you, I will never sell you something that looks like the horror show I witnessed in the grocery store last night! :-)