• Fresh Red and Yellow Lychee Nuts

    ...

  • Fresh Mangosteen Fruit

    ...

  • Fresh Cherimoyas

    Sugar Apples...

  • Fresh Passionfruit

    ...

  • Fresh Saturn Peaches

    Also referred to as Donut Peaches...

  • Fresh Santa Rosa Plums

    ...

  • Fresh Karela Melon

    Also referred to as Bitter Melon...

  • Fresh Concord Grapes

    ...

ZON FRUIT & VEGETABLES


Cool video, showing what is involved in getting produce from Field to Supermarket. As a cherry grower and packer, I face similar challenges with the majority of our cherries being picked, packed, shipped and received overseas within 48 hours. This is not an endorsement of Zon Fruit & Vegetables



Saturday, March 29, 2014

BEEFSTEAK & HEIRLOOM TOMATOES


Grades: No.1|No.2|Canning
Sizes: 4x4|4x5|5x5|5x6|6x6|6x7|7x7
Sizes: Small|Medium|Large|Extra Large
Cartons: 10kg/22# 2-3 Layer|11.36kg/25# Volume Fill
Store: Unrefrigerated|Optimum Temperature +10C/50F
Tomato Overview: Page 157-159


Remarks: Field grown tomatoes usually have more flavour than hot house varieties. The most popular field variety is the "Beefsteak" tomato. Two methods of increasing sales are...adding the blurb “BEEFSTEAK” to your retail signage and offering cut samples.

Shoppers can be very picky when it comes to tomatoes. Field tomatoes typically are not as attractive as hot house varieties but are still the favourite. Proper handling will definitely reduce your shrink and ensure steady movement.

Displaying: Always dummy displays to keep product looking attractive, this minimizes shrink, reduces culling and keeps tomatoes looking fresh. Dumping product onto displays will damage tomatoes, slow sales and cause you headaches later on. Proper rotation should always be part of your routine.

Tomato stems cause skin punctures, this occurs more often with hot house varieties but still be careful. Tomatoes are normally coated with wax or vegetable oil to extend their longevity, but displaying under hot light fixtures can make them feel greasy and slow sales.  Cull soft, waxy or wrinkled fruit, bag it up and sell at a discount. Overripe product can be sold in large bags or cases as “Canning Tomatoes”.


Receiving: Review “Tomatoes Overview” on page 157-159 of The Produce Clerk's Handbook for a more in-depth look at tomatoes. Open the box of tomatoes and inspect around the stem bowl…if there are signs of mold, decay or wetness, rapid breakdown of the remaining fruit is usually imminent. Press your thumb gently against the shoulder skin to ensure it does not peel away. Check for softness, chilling and blight (yellow or green spotting). Reject waxy or greasy feeling tomato shipments and shipments in general with an accumulation of more than 10% defects.


Unripe tomatoes should be stored with their lids closed. Store at room temperature to quicken ripening. Wrapping pallets with plastic pallet wrap will also enhance ripening.


PREVIEW & BUY THE PRODUCE CLERK'S HANDBOOK HERE

Fresh Raspberries at a Farmer's Market

Overripe & Moldy Raspberries - Stained pad is an indication of quality problems

Overripe Raspberries - Dark discoloration means the fruit is too ripe

Fresh Looking Wet & Moldy Raspberries is a sign the fruit was picked right after a rainfall

Raspberries can deteriorate within hours, once mold begins to appear


Grades: No.1/Domestic
Packs: 4.4oz|6oz|1 pint|2 pint|18oz|1 quart
Cartons: 1.36kg/3#|2kg/4.4#|4kg/8.8#|4.54kg/10#
Store: Refrigerated|Optimum Temperature +1C/33F


Remarks: Raspberries require gentle handling, rotate regularly and pull down at close to avoid excessive shrink, culling and repacking.

Displaying: Dummy displays. If Raspberries are attracting fruit flies, place a small portable fan behind the display (the fan will blow them away). Firm berries will last several hours on display with little impact, ripe berries need to be moved quickly (cut displays if fruit is soft and ripe). Displaying fruit in refrigerated counters is best, although condensation can build up inside the clamshell lid and slow sales. Quantity pricing and cross selling with other berry varieties will increase sales.

Receiving: Raspberries are force-air cooled to extend shelf-life, good quality fruit looks bright, fresh and appetizing. Open clamshells and sample, inspect the white pads for red stains, this is usually an indication of aging fruit. Berries should feel firm not soft. Cases can spoil overnight if mold is found inside the center of just a few berries, this is an indication the fruit was picked after a heavy rainfall (a no-no). Reject dull looking, wet, moldy, or shrivelled fruit and shipments in general with an accumulation of more than 10% defects.

PREVIEW & BUY THE PRODUCE CLERK'S HANDBOOK HERE

Thursday, March 27, 2014

FRESH PICKED ROYAL GALA APPLES


HIGH COLOR ROYAL GALA


SCAB AROUND STEM BOWL OF ROYAL GALA APPLE


TYPICAL ROYAL GALA SUPERMARKET COLOR


ROYAL GALA APPLE STEM BOWL CRACK


Grades: Ex-Fancy|No.1|Fancy|Commercial|Orchard Run
Sizes: 36|48|56|64|72|80|88|100|113|125|138|150+
Cartons: 18kg/40# Standard|20kg/44# Heavy Pack
Bags: 1.36kg/3#|2.27kg/5#|3.64kg/8#|4.54kg/10#
Bins: 182kg/400#|364kg/800#
Store: Refrigerated|Optimum Temperature +1C/33F


Remarks: Galas may be the best selling apples in the world and can be left out on display for 2-3 days with little impact. Many “gala” varieties are marketed and sold under the “royal gala” name. Good quality fruit should be very firm and have a minimum of 60-80% red color. All growing regions can produce excellent quality.

Displaying: Easy to handle. Red side should face up to maximize eye appeal. Turn apples sideways to prevent stem punctures. Displaying apples under hot light fixtures can turn them waxy and sales will drop off. Sampling can increase sales by +50%. Cull soft, waxy and bruised fruit. Bag up and sell at a discount or use for samples. Throw out decayed fruit.

Receiving: If available, check the Lot Number, Grower Number and Packing Date on the boxes. Open boxes and inspect the fruit. Stems should be green or brown, not black or shrivelled. Inspect for stemless and cracks around the stem bowl. Look for bruises, bitter pit, decay and mold. Firmly press your thumb against the surface for excessive softness. Reject soft apples and shipments in general with an accumulation of more than 10% defects.

PREVIEW & BUY THE PRODUCE CLERK'S HANDBOOK HERE


Perfect Cantaloupe





Ripe Cantaloupe

Ripe Cantaloupe "Full Slip" Clean Belly-Button

Cantaloupe on the Vine

Moldy Cantaloupe

Green Unripe Poor Quality Cantaloupe


Grades: Fancy|No.1|No.2|Commercial|Orchard Run
Packs: 6|9|12|15|18|23
Cases: 18kgs/40# Bins: 182kg/400#|364kg/800#
Store: Refrigerated|Optimum Temperature +1C/33F


Remarks: Easy to handle, cantaloupe (musk melon) should be pulled down at night and put back in the cooler. Overripe fruit can be sold as ½’s, used for fruit salad and samples; throw out as a last resort.

Displaying: Ripe fruit turns golden-yellow and smells wonderful, place atop your displays. Cantaloupe picked “full-slip” (at maturity) have a clean belly-button and will always ripen. Signs of ripped vines on the belly-button means the fruit was picked too early and will not ripen. Dummy displays during slow times to minimize culls.

Receiving: Unscrupulous shippers routinely ship underweight boxes of cantaloupe (industry standard 38-40lbs). Expect boxes to weigh as little as 28lbs. Stores retailing by the pound should always weigh boxes. Your store may be losing substantial money. Report grossly underweight labels to the Purchaser. Open boxes and inspect for bruising (indentations), mold and wet black belly buttons. Fruit packed in plastic liners can arrive wet, inspect closely (later open the plastic liners to allow fruit to dry out). Cantaloupe should be firm, clean and look healthy. If the fruit is ripe (Page 27, Diagram 6B), remove plastic pallet wrap to slow the ripening process. Reject shipments in general with an accumulation of more than 10% defects.

PREVIEW & BUY THE PRODUCE CLERK'S HANDBOOK HERE

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Fresh Asparagus

Asparagus & The Fly... Very Cool   © Bencks.com

Asparagus - Seedy & Over-Mature

Asparagus - White Purplish stalks is a sign of being tough


Grades: No.1|No.2
Sizes: Pencil|Small|Standard|Large|Jumbo|Colossal
Cartons: 5kg/11#|6.82kg/15#|9kg/20#|12.73kg/28#
Store: Refrigerated|Optimum Temperature +3-4C/38-40F


Remarks: Easy to handle, Asparagus is a big seller. To determine how much of a stalk is tender and edible, snap stalks at their bottoms. Smaller sizes (pencil, small and standard) are more desirable.

Displaying: Displaying bunched asparagus standing up in tubs of water (one inch of water) is the best method. Product can last all day in clean water. Displaying on ice or wet counters works too but is not as effective; the tips will still dry out faster. Asparagus can be left in their tubs when put back into the cooler at close.

White Asparagus: Highly perishable, avoid unnecessary handling. Touching stalks will cause them to snap. Display packaged if possible to avoid loses. Cover at close to avoid stalks turning green (like potatoes).

Receiving: If available, check the Lot Number, Grower Number and Packing Date. Open and smell tips, rotten tips will stink. Asparagus with seedy tips needs to be sold in 1-2 days. Check for mold, shrivelled stalks and color; white-purplish stalks are tough and undesirable. Product with these common defects can still be sold (except rotten tips). Use your judgement or ask your supervisor if you are unsure. Reject shipments in general with an accumulation of more than 10% defects.

PREVIEW & BUY THE PRODUCE CLERK'S HANDBOOK HERE

Wednesday, March 12, 2014



Fresh Strawberry Patch
Well-Pict & Driscoll Strawberries are both excellent labels
Good quality Fresh Strawberries in a Clamshell
Moldy, Wet & Slimy Strawberry
Bad Quality, Moldy Strawberries in a Clamshell
Grades: No.1|Combo|No.2
Packs: Pint|1#|2#|4#|1/2 Flat|Full Flat
Cartons: 2.27kg/5#|3.64kg/8#|4.54kg/10#
Store: Refrigerated|Optimum Temperature +1C/33F 
Remarks: Strawberries sales are a big part of the produce department. Rotate regularly and pull down at close to avoid excessive shrink, culling and repacking. 

Displaying: Most supermarkets have moved to clamshells, reducing handling and shrink; fruit can be stacked several layers high with little impact (cut displays during slow times). Displaying in a refrigerated counter is best, although condensation can build up inside the clamshell lid and slow sales. Quantity pricing and cross selling with other berry varieties will increase sales. 

Receiving: Strawberries can be a difficult and time consuming fruit to handle when poor quality is received. If available, check the Lot Number, Grower Number and Packing Date on flats. Open clamshells, sample, and inspect for overripe berries, mold, slime and wetness; all indications of age. Berries should be firm not soft, wrinkled fruit is usually a sign of chilling injury caused by the truck reefer or warehouse cooler (page 23, diagram 5D). Fruit can spoil overnight if mold is found on just a few berries. Reject dull looking, wet, moldy, or shrivelled fruit and shipments in general with an accumulation of more than 10% defects. 

PREVIEW & BUY THE PRODUCE CLERK'S HANDBOOK HERE

Monday, March 10, 2014




Grades: No.1|No.2
Sizes: Boilers|Small|Medium|Jumbo|Colossal
Packs: 2#|1.36kg/3#|2.72kg/5#|10#|25#|40#|50#
Store: Refrigerated|Optimum Temperature +1C/33F
Onions Overview: Page 131


Remarks: Easy to handle. White onions break down quickly, store in the cooler to help avoid this. Shrink can be substantial compared to the red and yellow varieties. Sales do not warrant retailing pre-packaged bags.

Displaying: Dummy displays for easy culling and restocking. Heaping displays is not recommended. Displaying red, white and yellow onions together and cross-selling will increase sales. There will be times when the tips look dried out and brown; it may be necessary to cut the tips with a pair of scissors to maintain steady sales. Time consuming, only do this if you have extra time available. Cull distressed product, bag up and discount.

Receiving: An entire shipment of white onions can breakdown overnight, once quality problems become apparent. Product should arrive dry, if the bags or boxes are wet...smell for a strong onion aroma (a sign of decay). Inspect stems for wetness, mold and press firmly at the base. White onions should be hard. Wet stems and black discoloration are signs of bad quality and should be rejected. Mold around the roots may also be evident. Reject moldy or sprouting onions and shipments in general with an accumulation of more than 10% defects.

PREVIEW & BUY THE PRODUCE CLERK'S HANDBOOK HERE

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Pineapples - Excellent Quality

Pineapple Picked Green - Poor Quality

Fresh Pineapple Plant

Pineapple Overripe - Yellowing, Leaves Turning Brown


Grades: Fancy|No.1|No.2|Hawaii Fancy|Hawaii No.1
Single-layer: 4|5|6|7|8|9|10
Two-layer: 8|10|12|14|18
Cartons: 9kg/20#|12kg/26.4#|18kg/40#
Store: Unrefrigerated|Optimum Temperature +10C/50F


Remarks: Hawaiian pineapple are the best quality, while Mexican is usually the worst because it’s picked too green. Pineapple do not ripen after being harvested. Most growers offer a premium grade “ripe-n-ready” pineapple referred to as “gold” or “jet-fresh”.

Displaying: Pineapple can be stacked several layers high with little impact. Stack riper fruit on top and rotate regularly. Ripe pineapple emit a wonderful tropical aroma. Cull fruit showing signs of mold, decay or dryness, this includes dried out leaves and moldy bottoms. Overripe fruit can be sold as ½’s, used for fruit salad and samples; throw out as a last resort.

Receiving: If available, check the Lot Number, Grower Number and Packing Date. Weigh boxes, inspect fruit for color, mold and maturity. A green-reddish color on the bottom is a sign of decay beginning to set in. Dry brown leaves and leaves coming away too easily from the fruit are signs of age (test by pulling on leaves). Firmly press your thumbs against the surface for softness. Fruit with a dull translucent appearance is an indicator of chilling. Overripe fruit and shipments in general with an accumulation of more than 10% defects should be rejected.

PREVIEW & BUY THE PRODUCE CLERK'S HANDBOOK HERE