• 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



Friday, May 1, 2015




The potato category is relative easy to handle, unless product is received with pre-existing quality problems. It is actually surprising how common poor quality is shipped and received. Receivers usually give potatoes the obligatory cursory glance and move on. Unscrupulous packers count on this.


Green Potatoes

More prevalent to yellow and white skinned varieties, dummying displays and proper rotation will help reduce shrink. Do not display under bright halogen track lighting and completely cover potato displays with dark tarps (to keep light out) at close.


Black Flesh

More a problem associated with winter storage potatoes than new crop (russet potatoes especially). Although both new and old crop can be affected. Black skin discoloration can be an indicator the problem is more serious. Cut open and inspect flesh.


Silver Scurf

Silver scabbing on the skin of the potato does not affect the flesh, but is ugly enough to deter sales.


Creamer Potatoes

Baby potatoes, also referred to as “creamers” are an important part of potato sales. Bulk (loose) sales are usually limited and the potatoes dry out quickly. New-dug varieties with thin skins will also turn green within hours on display. It is a better idea to offer pre-bagged packages (1lb, 2lb, 3lb or 5lb bags) and quantity pricing will increase sales significantly.

Creamers suffer from the same quality defects as regular sized potatoes, but are more noticeable. Yellow-fleshed and white skinned varieties have thinner skins which make them better eating.


Receiving

Unscrupulous packers will mix No.2 grade or “B” sized potatoes into No.1 grade “A” sized potato bags. Deformed, pock-marked and spotted potatoes are also common defects you may find upon closer inspection.

Supporting local producers is important and at certain times of year…quality can be mixed. As a general rule, the shipments are acceptable if your customers continue to purchase the product without complaint; and you are not throwing out excessive amounts of potatoes.

Otherwise, the Packer should be advised to improve their packing standards or face possible de-listing. If you are buying strictly on price, quality problems will persist.



Checklists and plan-o-grams can save you at least a couple of hours every day. Staying organized is easy once you develop a routine.




Most supermarkets have employee checklists that need to be adhered to and checked on a daily basis. It’s a great idea to make up your own checklist too, something that works for you. You will be surprised how much time you can save everyday by using checklists.

Again…you are not relying solely on your memory to ensure important tasks are getting done. When you are extra busy, called away unexpectedly or go on break; it is easy enough to hand your checklist over to a co-worker to complete in your absence. Once you have your checklist(s) drawn up to your liking, make plenty of extra copies for future use.


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