How Far Food Goes

Upon entering any grocery store I am overwhelmed by the produce stacked precariously and the shelves filled with so much food I wonder how they could sell everything in time before it went bad. The truth is they can not sell everything in time. No store can, and upon entering Weis for a salad I found evidence of what consumers face every day. As a child I remember hating the trips to the grocery stores, it was time consuming and as an adult I still hate shopping. Not because I do not want to buy food, but because there are several complex factors determining whether I buy or not. In all honesty I don’t understand how parents or even consumers can stand to shop without spending a couple hours debating what to buy. We often wonder what is best to buy in regards to specific qualifications, such as, affordability, quality, quantity, GMO free, organic, freshness, local, and healthiness. All these are traits consumers look for when grocery shopping.
Like our primitive ancestors we still continue to hunt for our food. Most people in the United States go to stores like Weis, Whole Foods, Giant, Aldi’s, Costco, Farmers markets, and Supermarkets. You can buy food almost anywhere as it is necessary, although that does not mean it came straight from a farm to that exact store. On a Friday I found myself in the exact same place as my parents, at a grocery store. In particular Weis to buy a salad for a Clarinet potluck. I did find salad and many other produce at Weis, however what I did not find was organization. I found the moment I entered I was bombarded with sales, and produce stacked high of different brands. I look into the produce section for salad mixes I notice that the fresh express salads upon entering was about $4. For a second I paused looking at the small containers perplexed. There was so much, yet in each section I could find obviously old produce that had not been sold. Withered, wrinkled and brown, yet still costed the same price of produce in its prime. An organic straw berries is $3.99 versus $2.99 straw berries. Surprisingly precut strawberries cost $4.49.
The $3.99 fresh express salads greeted my attention first until my friend found the organic salads I had intended to buy in the corner for a dollar cheaper. As a shopper, I admit unless you have specific types of ingredients you are looking for you would purchase what is most convenient. I almost spent more for non-organic. We often wonder what is cheaper and what has better quality? Today I found that when you shop in produce everything you want you can usually find easily, however if you have a specific brand be prepared to search. In Weiss there is little separation between organic, GMO free, or non-organic- it’s all interspersed making it difficult to find what you want.  As you can see in the prices above in some cases, organic can be cheaper and even of good quality.  My thoughts on this as I looked through the vegetable jungle of produce in search of organic was this: maybe some products in organic at this time of season are more expensive because it is out of season for fruit like tomatoes, strawberries, and bananas. My other thought as I look through the aisles piled high with fruit is that organic products could possible not come from local farms at all unless grown in a green house, anything not must come from somewhere warm enough to grow in season. As most people we may not always notice what is in front of us, but as I look closer at the products I notice some are not perfect. Some of the bananas (organic or not) were over ripe, tomatoes withered, and strawberries on the cusp of being over ripe. As I write this I bet upon entering any grocery store we will find produce wasting away on their shelves past their prime.
As I glanced through the aisles browsing I found further cases where organic was hidden. As I tell you this you must wonder, Why this is important. It is because we settle for less of our food because it is convenient. The organic salad I had bought was one dollar cheaper. I have been through various grocery stores with my parents in search of good deals. I have even been to a supermarket where the food is still good, and not left rotting on the shelves. Lastly I looked at products and compared quantity to find that there was little difference in quantity unless you compare the amount of organic products to not we find there is more non-organic than organic product in the Weiss produce section. My friend made the comment when we left “Better to buy organic than not organic, in some cases it is cheaper others not. I feel that quality is the same though either way.” I responded with this thought “It does look different if it is raw materials like fruit and veggies otherwise if in a different premade form no one really takes the time to think over the purchase of it.”
From what I went through to find a salad, we go through weekly. Produce is not cheap, especially fruit out of season that has been transported from faraway places. To me that seems almost to extravagant. Why should we buy from places half way around the world and not from our own local farms when it is most fresh? I do not think I would want food that has travelled far to get here and left rotting on shelves of grocery stores at high prices. Yet this is what I find in most groceries I enter including Weis. I would tell you to go to the farmers market to find organic produce easily and fresher than face the hassle these stores cause. In particular as a consumer unless you are a member at Weis you cannot buy anything at it sale price and have to pay its full value. Farmers markets do not have this system in place, and most produce you will find is completely fresh and nothing sold is ever rotting. Buying local supports the farmers and in return you don’t have to go into a grocery searching through rows upon rows of produce.

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