Garden Dilemmas, Delights & Discoveries, Ask Mary Stone, New Jersey Garden blog

Produce Abuse

Mary Stone, Garden Dilemmas, Ask Mary Stone,Gardening tips, Garden Blogs, Stone Associates Landscape Design, Garden Blog, Choosing Produce

Hello fellow readers,

Can you believe we’ve been chatting for 165 weeks? I am so grateful for all we have learned from each other.  I hope you don’t mind that I revisited one of our early columns from 2012. Let’s just say, I’m concerned about produce abuse and thought we could help by spreading the word of prevention.

Produce is plentiful so please visit your local stand to savor the bounty and support our farmers. While stocking up at Race’s Farm in Blairstown I’m reminded of the behavior of shoppers experienced while working at a roadside stand as a teen. Generally I think folks have good intentions and don’t mean to abuse veggies, but let’s talk about produce etiquette. While searching for ripe produce people tend to squeeze to check softness which results in a bruise. They pick tomatoes up and rather than gently returning them to their spot they often drop them causing the stack to shift. “If you hear something moving it’s bruising,” Doug Race said.

Mary Stone, Garden Dilemmas, Ask Mary Stone,Gardening tips, Garden Blogs, Stone Associates Landscape Design, Garden Blog, Choosing Produce

It’s ‘No No’ to husk halfway and leave the ear behind…

I’m astonished that customers husk corn halfway to look for critters or check maturity. Who will buy that ear now? Mom always said if a worm likes the ear so will you. If you are squeamish about a worm, taking a peak at the top of the ear without stripping it is appropriate. You can feel the kernel maturity by grabbing around its girth. I think the worst produce abuse I heard of was a customer husking their intended purchase leaving the husks in the remaining pile and then casting the ears aside as they opted for the white corn instead. Thankfully a kind observer bought the perfectly wonderful yellow ears.

Doug Race brought me to stitches as he remarked “buying produce is not like picking a spouse. Live on the edge a little and buy the darn tomato.” You can buy by your eye he advised rather than leaving bruised ones behind. Apples will be coming in and if you have hesitation about making a 3-pound commitment buy one of each kind to try and come back to buy your apple of choice. Sounds like good advice Doug. I should have thought of that when I was choosing a spouse!

Garden Dilemmas?


Mary Stone, owner of Stone Associates Landscape Design & Consulting. As a Landscape Designer, I am grateful for the joy of helping others beautify their surroundings which often leads to sharing encouragement and life experiences. These relationships inspired my weekly column published in THE PRESS, 'Garden Dilemmas? Ask Mary', began in 2012. I dream of growing the evolving community of readers into an interactive forum to share encouragement and support in Garden and Personal Recoveries - seeking nature’s inspirations, stimulating growth, weeding undesirables, embracing the unexpected. Thank you for visiting! Mary

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