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Asking grocery stores for produce "not pretty"
Posted by: Lizard ()
Date: December 15, 2009 08:03PM

Hello everyone,

Has anyone ever talked to their grocery store about the produce they throw away? I was Giant the other day early in the morning an the worker there was throwing away perfectly good produce (or at least produce that could be cut around and used, and not to "pretty looking"winking smiley. I thought after I left, man what a waste. I've been debating going back and asking them for it, or if I can pick through. This was Giant, but I also have a shoppers/safeway/and whole foods near me. Has anyone ever tried this? I'd be willing to pay a discounted price.

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Re: Asking grocery stores for produce "not pretty"
Posted by: Mislu ()
Date: December 15, 2009 08:33PM

I am surprised that it didn't get resold to discount stores, or an asian market. I have heard that some asian market places get produce which is about to turn from other suppliers.

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Re: Asking grocery stores for produce "not pretty"
Posted by: OkunDeji ()
Date: December 15, 2009 09:50PM

Hey Lizard,
I saw the same thing the other day in a supermarket, spotty ripe bananas were being taken off the shelves. I asked the man what will happen to them and he said they give them back to the suppliers, I offered to buy them cheap and he just shrugged, not his decision.
Economically challenged I have been picking fruit out of the bins at the vendors market, I got two large ripe paw paws for free last weekend. They were ready to eat and 'normal' people don't buy them like that so they get thrown away. I often go and ask for bananas that are ready for the bin, then freeze them as I can't eat them all straight away.
I feel embarassed admitting this, I am poor and hungry, what's a woman to do? I thank God that I don't have children to feed in these times. I like to be able to buy what I need. My fridge is very empty right now, and it is these times where the cooked food is cheaper. $2 dollars can buy me a pound of yam or sweet potato that's 2 meals for me. I can get 5 bananas for the same price, one meal. It is because of my health mission that I buy the bananas, I can understand why poor people wouldn't can't make that choice.

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Re: Asking grocery stores for produce "not pretty"
Posted by: davidzanemason ()
Date: December 15, 2009 11:37PM

My brother worked at a major grocery here in Florida - Publix - and he told me that they (very quickly) stopped donating out of date products and not-so-hot produce to charity due to liability reasons. Instead, they simply throw away 1000's of dollars worth of food. It's unfortunate we live in such a litigious society.

The point is: larger stores may not offer damaged produce as a policy - but smaller produce stands and stores often will and DO. Just my experience. And it never hurts to ASK for what you want. People can always so no! smiling smiley

-David Z. Mason

WWW.RawFoodFarm.com

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Re: Asking grocery stores for produce "not pretty"
Posted by: eaglefly ()
Date: December 15, 2009 11:46PM

This is a sensitive subject for me as I mourn the loss of perfectly good produce that is thrown away daily,and the starving people of the world.

Vinny

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Re: Asking grocery stores for produce "not pretty"
Posted by: ILoveJen ()
Date: December 16, 2009 01:27AM

if you do a search on utube there are a lot of guides about people going into dumpsters of trader joe's and taking all the expired foods.

at my work i like to take the old produce. sometimes i feel embarrassed like they are going to look at me funny for taking it. I lie and i say it is for my animals. =)

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Re: Asking grocery stores for produce "not pretty"
Posted by: juicerkatz ()
Date: December 16, 2009 07:33AM

Yeah, as davidzanemason mentioned; same thing here - liability issues have prompted all the major grocery stores that I know of to toss all the food out, that was previously donated to charities.

Funny thing though; every fall the butchers have a "deer meat drive" in which hunters can donate their unwanted/excess kills to the butcher who in turn processes the meat & then passes it on to the nursing homes in the area...

Great idea.... sad smiley

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Re: Asking grocery stores for produce "not pretty"
Posted by: diana ()
Date: December 16, 2009 08:06AM

Hi...I live in Northeastern PA, and my produce guys (at the different stores that I go to) are great about discounting fruits and veggies for me. They know that I'm buying to "eat now" or freeze and the sales keep their numbers up. Just talk to these guys/gals and perhaps the store manager. Most people are reasonable. By the way where do you guys live...diana

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Re: Asking grocery stores for produce "not pretty"
Posted by: Lizard ()
Date: December 16, 2009 08:07AM

Thank you everyone for the responses. It is a sensitive subject for me too. I hate all that waste, it just breaks my heart! I will try to get up the nerve to ask and let you all know how it goessmiling smiley I'm very shy but need to just get over it!

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Re: Asking grocery stores for produce "not pretty"
Posted by: Tamukha ()
Date: December 16, 2009 08:19AM

Lizard,

How about going to whoever manages the produce section and saying you like stuff really ripe, and then asking whether they dispose of over-ripe things on a schedule, because, if so, you would like to be there to get it before it goes in the bin. Then ask if you could get a discount for taking it off their hands. This seems reasonable to me. I am lucky that the largest store I shop at here, Meijer, has a discounted produce shelf for pensioners or people who feed that stuff to their pets or squirrels in the park or whatever. It is possible management initiated this, but it is more likely enough people on fixed incomes complained about waste and management enacted this practice to please them. The customer is always right, right?

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Re: Asking grocery stores for produce "not pretty"
Posted by: banana who ()
Date: December 21, 2009 08:15PM

OkunDeji Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Hey Lizard,
> I saw the same thing the other day in a
> supermarket, spotty ripe bananas were being taken
> off the shelves. I asked the man what will happen
> to them and he said they give them back to the
> suppliers, I offered to buy them cheap and he just
> shrugged, not his decision.
> Economically challenged I have been picking fruit
> out of the bins at the vendors market, I got two
> large ripe paw paws for free last weekend. They
> were ready to eat and 'normal' people don't buy
> them like that so they get thrown away. I often go
> and ask for bananas that are ready for the bin,
> then freeze them as I can't eat them all straight
> away.
> I feel embarassed admitting this, I am poor and
> hungry, what's a woman to do? I thank God that I
> don't have children to feed in these times. I like
> to be able to buy what I need. My fridge is very
> empty right now, and it is these times where the
> cooked food is cheaper. $2 dollars can buy me a
> pound of yam or sweet potato that's 2 meals for
> me. I can get 5 bananas for the same price, one
> meal. It is because of my health mission that I
> buy the bananas, I can understand why poor people
> wouldn't can't make that choice.

I would be curious to know where you live and shop. $2 for a pound of yams?! This time of year in my neck of the woods (Midwest), I could probably get 3 lbs. of sweet potatoes or yams for $1. Bananas? .39-79 a pound and a pound is about 3 medium bananas. So five bananas for $1.10 is about right. Of course, I don't go to Mom & Pop stores, but produce markets. I go out of my way to frequent them precisely because I buy so much produce each week. It is cheaper for a low-income person to do all their shopping at a big produce market (where they also sell dried beans, whole grain pasta, etc.) and simply buy plant-based items.

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Re: Asking grocery stores for produce "not pretty"
Posted by: iamwhatiam ()
Date: December 21, 2009 09:53PM

Sure, some stores (usually the smaller ones) will be glad to give you free produce that they may throw out anyways...or sell to you at a discounted price. This is how organizations like Food Not Bombs gets a lot of their food. Also, some farmer's markets will discard unbought produce or greens that have been sitting out all day in the heat, etc so hit em up as they're closing down and packin up.

Also, I've done (not lately cause I get enough money on food stamps) a lot of dumpster diving myself. Usually, you don't find too much fresh produce but I've found everything from overripe bananas, celery, spinach, packaged salad mixes, oranges, nuts, etc. Places like Trader Joe's are NOTORIOUS for throwing out loads of food every day. Some of them lock their dumpsters, but many do not. Make sure you go after the store closes - bring a flashlight, wear grungy clothes you don't mind getting dirty in, and gloves if you're squeamish around trash. Sometimes, stores will have a security guard there the first few hours after store closes so be mindful of that.

If you're really hard up on money, and your conscience doesn't get to you...ya can always walk thru the produce isle and bruise the fruit yourself (when no one's looking), and come back later to ask for a discounted price on the bruised fruit...haha...just kidding....but seriously, maybe you'd get away with that.


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Re: Asking grocery stores for produce "not pretty"
Posted by: OkunDeji ()
Date: December 22, 2009 12:54PM

Banana who
I live in the Caribbean. Halve my quotes for US dollars. We experience shortages in some foods because they are grown for export and the foreign exchange it brings, especially bananas and sugar. What remains is the "sub-standard stuff"' your supermarkets won't buy. By sub-standard I mean too small, not the right shape etc.
Banana and sugar wars are killing the Caribbean, from start to finish. That is another thread. Raw food lifestyle is for the privileged and relatively wealthy. That may be an unpopular view here, yet it is fact. i.e A packet of cheap white flour pasta can feed a family of 4 on $3 or 4 dollars, they can't eat that amount in fruit and be satisfied. Not here anyway. Reality check.

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Re: Asking grocery stores for produce "not pretty"
Posted by: RawRaw ()
Date: December 22, 2009 02:53PM

whole foods quality is pretty bad a lot of the time anyhow, so no need to intentionally damage it. should make it easy to ask for discounts on a lot of it though. ive seen them remove stuff that looked perfectly fine many times. how it tastes is another story.

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Re: Asking grocery stores for produce "not pretty"
Posted by: banana who ()
Date: December 22, 2009 07:52PM

OkunDei:

I am glad you explained that because I, too, have family in the Caribbean and although this was the early '80s, I noticed that avocados and mangos were not necessarily available in the markets yet rotted on the ground in public areas! One memorable day, my mother and I scooped up a bunch of them as our bus took a breather on the way to some seaside area on the island. I cannot recall how many mangos I consumed that day but suffice it to say, I got cleaned out from them, LOL! But seriously, this is absolutely ridiculous, the idea that people with an abundance of various lucious fruits cannot partake in them at a very reasonable cost! I wonder if those with land could grow their own and supply the community at little or no cost? Sometimes you have to think outside the box (sorry for that threadworn cliche, but it gets the job done!)...

I didn't understand what you meant by "reality check" but if it was that I needed one, then I can dig it...smiling smiley



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/22/2009 07:54PM by banana who.

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Re: Asking grocery stores for produce "not pretty"
Posted by: Trive ()
Date: December 23, 2009 10:37PM

This morning I was at a fresh produce grocery and saw that all the lovely fluffy outer leaves of the lettuces had been pulled off and tossed in a heap. I asked why and was told that most people just want the hearts. I looked incredulous and he offered to get me a whole one. I asked if it was alright to take a few leaves off the top of the pile and was told to help myself. I did! Now if I can always arrange to be there on de-leafing day...
(chomp...chomp...munch...munch...)


My favorite raw vegan

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Re: Asking grocery stores for produce "not pretty"
Posted by: Lizard ()
Date: December 24, 2009 10:02AM

Very interesting Trive. chomp chomp away! he he

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Re: Asking grocery stores for produce "not pretty"
Posted by: kwan ()
Date: December 24, 2009 12:23PM

I'm thankful that my local Star Market always has a discount bin where I can often buy speckled bananas and truly ripe, delicious cantaloupes and other fruits and vegetables at a huge savings... and they're ready to eat! I actually prefer the discount bananas and cantaloupes, because the full-price ones in the produce department are usually very unripe.

Sharrhan

www.etsy.com/shop/sharrhan
www.soundclick.com/Store/byArtist.cfm?bandID=652469
[www.facebook.com]


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Re: Asking grocery stores for produce "not pretty"
Posted by: life101 ()
Date: December 24, 2009 10:16PM

OkunDeji, I am sorry that you cannot afford to eat well. Many here in the US are in the same position. Sometimes, I just fast. Fortunately, I haven't had to that lately but it's been close.

Kwan, I, too, am grateful for the discounted bananas. I was able to pick up 3 bags of bananas weighing over 4 lbs each. I muscle-tested them before buying. I brought them home and peeled them and froze the ones that I wasn't going to eat within the next two days for future use. I was able to fill up 5 1/2 gallon sized bags with the pieces laid out flat in each bag. They make great banana ice cream or banana drinks. I like to put raisins in mine and sometimes a little cinnamon.

I've not asked for produce to be discounted but am thinking of join a co-op where they sell bags of 10 lbs of produce for about $35 per week. Of course, there is an annual membership fee but it will depend on if I can get the produce cheaper the way I'm currently shopping and if I can eat the produce they provide. Therese

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Re: Asking grocery stores for produce "not pretty"
Posted by: Helen ()
Date: December 25, 2009 12:23PM

In Germany, most supermarkets, those that are part of a chain, are not ALLOWED to give such things away, they HAVE TO throw them away!!! I asked at a supermarket, and they told me, they are not allowed. What a waste.

But in the German city I lived in before, I sometimes asked at a small Turkish store if I could take the too ripe kakis, which they wnated to throw away, and I got them.

In Germany, they even throw fruits and veggies away after they got harvested if they do not have "normal" size. So like a huge zucchini, no one would buy it, so they just throw it away right away. The same with very small strawberries.

You see, there is enough food on the world, it is just unevenly distributed.

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Re: Asking grocery stores for produce "not pretty"
Posted by: diana ()
Date: December 25, 2009 08:07PM

Hi All...WOW what a shame this waste of food is...OH...and Helen..What is a "kakis"?

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Re: Asking grocery stores for produce "not pretty"
Posted by: OkunDeji ()
Date: December 25, 2009 09:21PM

Banana who
The reality check was not for you, per se, just the fact that the price of bananas grown locally, is more expensive than processed and imported white wheat flour product, that flood our supermarket shelves. It makes me so angry, the systematic disfunction of agribusiness and food wastage.
Life101
Thanks for the sympathy. I look at it as a positive thing as it has forced me to be humble, creative and to keep my meals simple. All Good for me to experience.
Bless

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Re: Asking grocery stores for produce "not pretty"
Posted by: faeterri ()
Date: December 26, 2009 09:38AM

Hi, I'm newer here and have been reading for the last few days and commenting some.

I live in Vermont, a pretty conscious state in the US. There are many programs so that food is distributed, especially from farms, and that which is gone by goes to compost facilities to make soil. I hope that you all can get organic produce or at least sprout food if you are into that or grow it in containers. In the country there is much wild food; I wouldn't risk eating it in polluted environments.

Faeterri

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