Those bags of pre-cut vegetables, those cups or trays of fruit salad, we’ve all grabbed one, out of a need for speed or convenience.
But, did you ever wonder how all those bags of pre-cut fruits and vegetables get into the bags? I just assumed that they were fed into some cutting machine and then sealed into the bag. I assumed wrong.
Beth Slovic of Willamette Week Online, in Oregon, did some investigative reporting, and found that Del Monte produce is cut by hand in a massive plant in north Portland. The story has all the elements that you would suspect: undocumented aliens, low wages, predatory employer practices; but the WTF moment for me was the 8 day shelf life of pre-cut pineapple. Blech. We’ve all cut up a fruit salad, and if some bit is left in the back of the refrigerator for 8 days, it is well into science experiment territory.
You have to assume that kid’s school provided lunches also use these pre-cut fruits and vegetables, then its also a logical progression to think that the produce varieties are bred for shelf life, not taste, so the next progression is into ‘no wonder kids don’t eat their fruits and vegetables”. Kids don’t like to eat cardboard, no matter how colorful it is.
What would the world be like if we had to wait for strawberry season or tomato season? If we actually ate those fruits and vegetables in season and discovered real flavor? Radical thinking, isn’t it?