What conditions constitute “high quality” produce? Let’s start with observing the perception of perfection and if perfection really matters when it comes to produce… or anything at all. Does high quality produce mean fruits and vegetables with no scratches or flaws? Does a high quality apple have a shiny skin? Or fancy packaging? No. It’s been suggested that perfection means high quality but perfection does not always apply to high quality produce. Simple, fresh and as nature intended is the best way to get the highest quality produce regardless of any imperfections. We have to remember that fruits and vegetables are meant to grow outside where they’re exposed to the elements of wind, sun, rain, variable temperatures and humidity. Here at Bishop’s Orchards we have our own locally grown produce. If you want the highest quality, pick Bishops because it will always be crisp, fresh, hydrated, juicy… and local of course! If it’s not home grown here on the orchard we choose as many products as possible from local sources, like spinach, corn and microgreens, just to name a few.
Let’s examine what makes an apple a “high quality” apple. When you go to your local chain supermarket, pick up an apple and give it a gentle squeeze (by the way, don’t ever do this with a peach). Does the skin on the apple wrinkle slightly? If so, that’s because it’s an older apple that’s becoming dehydrated most likely from being in too cool temperatures for too long. Our cooler at Bishop’s Orchards runs cool enough that it keeps the produce fresh but not so cold that the foods start to dehydrate. Another misconception about apples is that shiny skin means high quality and perfect. The shiny coating on an apple in a conventional supermarket is a wax layer that is added to make the apple shiny the way we want our cars to shine… but who wants to eat an apple that tastes like wax? Our apples are not shiny but that’s what actually makes them perfect and high quality, just as nature intended.
Remember to be mindful about how to store your produce to keep them “perfect” and extend the quality for as long as possible. On your next visit to the Farm Market take a look at the “Garden to Table” fresh storage guidelines posted in the produce section. It will give you the best instructions on which items are best kept at room temperature or in the fridge in addition to washing instructions.