Tips for buying seasonal produce

by Karen Gaudette

This article was originally published in July 2011


Summer’s abundance of fresh, local fruit can make our eyes bigger than our stomachs. Once you haul that bounty home, here are some strategies to employ from Tom Lively, an Oregon-based peach grower (Lively Organic Farm) and long-time sales account manager with Organically Grown Company.

Berries — Refrigerate immediately, says Tom, unless you prefer to savor at room temperature. Raspberries typically are most fragile; blueberries, the hardiest. “If I was going to buy berries for the week, I would eat my raspberries first, strawberries second and blueberries third.”

Stone fruit (peaches, plums, nectarines, apricots) — Test for ripeness with a slight press at the very top of the fruit, right by the stem. “When I feel a little give right there, that’s when I know it’s ripe,” Tom says. To ripen in stages at home, store half on the counter and half in the fridge, replenishing your counter supply as it’s eaten.

The brown paper bag method — Want it ripe faster? Tuck stone fruit (and avocados) into a paper bag to trap the ethylene gas they naturally emit. Hasten ripening further by adding a ripe banana to the bag.

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