The Scary Truth About Buying Produce from the Grocery Store
by Madelyn Buchmann
You’ve probably been told that eating a handful of fresh fruit or a salad packed with greens and other superfoods is something you should do every day because it's “good for you.” While these are certainly healthy habits to have, you aren’t getting any benefits if you buy your produce from a grocery store.
Most fruits and vegetables lose 30%
of their nutrients within the
first three days after harvest.
The sad reality is that the produce in your shopping cart can take up to an entire year to arrive at the grocery store after harvest, meaning it hardly has any nutrients left. Apples and potatoes are typically stored for six to twelve months, whereas lettuce, tomatoes, bananas, and spinach are stored for a couple of weeks. To survive such long storage periods, these fruits and vegetables are frozen and bathed in harsh chemicals.
If you think that doesn’t sound that bad, think again. Lettuce loses 50% of its key nutrients after one week.
According to a Penn State University study,
spinach loses 90% of its nutrients
within the first 24 hours after harvest.
That’s why the journey from farm to table is so important. It’s good to know how long after harvest your produce took to reach the shelves you're shopping from, as well as what processes it went through to get there. Additionally, as a consumer, you should be aware that what you’re buying has an impact on carbon emissions and gasoline consumption.
Certain fruits and vegetables
travel nearly 1500 miles
by truck, train, and plane.
You may be asking, “What can I do instead of buying produce from my grocery store?” Here are a few options:
1. Shop at farmers’ markets.
Sure, you’ll be spending a little more, but you can rest assured that it’s fresher and has more nutrients. You can also talk to the person behind the counter, and they probably have a pretty good idea of how that head of lettuce reached your hands.
2. Join a CSA.
Community Supported Agriculture programs ship produce directly from farmer to consumer. You have to pay up front, but you receive a weekly share of harvested goods and you help the farmer meet the costs it takes to keep growing each season.
3. Grow your own produce at home.
This is such a great way to eat fresh because you control every factor of the growth, harvest, and storage processes. Start small with a few herbs or jump right in and get your hands dirty with some cucumbers and tomatoes.
My mom’s garden and some of her beautiful tomatoes!
Maybe you don’t have the time, space, or energy to garden at home, but you want to take control of your produce’s farm to table journey. If so, check out our product page. With the Fable Refrigerator, your food only has to travel 5 feet to reach your kitchen table.
Have you ever tried gardening at home? If so, what did you grow? And if you haven’t, what’s stopping you?