I do have some ways that I choose my produce for other things. Mostly this has come from my weekly visits to the nearby Certified Farmers Market. For instance I pick tomatoes by smell. If they don't smell like a tomato, I leave them for someone else. Smell also is a deciding factor with cantaloupe, but I also use weight and depression of the stem on the end.
Mary asked me how I choose grapefruit. That would be by weight. The heavier, the juicier. Strawberries, peaches and apples? If you buy them at the market, you take a taste. BTW, you should buy your strawberries from a farm that is either certified organic or follows organic principles regarding pesticides. When the seeds are on the outside and there is no skin to peel, rinsing is more a ritual than an effective cleansing procedure.
Not all vendors at the market are certified organic. The certification process is very expensive and takes a long time. Many of the farmers have relatively small operations and can't afford high overhead. I don't think my favorite farmer, Jimmy the Avocado and citrus man is certified, but he knows the oil content of every avocado he sells. He is the one who told me the genesis of the Haas Avocado, a story well worth reading.
I asked Jimmy if I was correct in thinking weight was the best determiner for citrus and he corrected my opinion. "Seasonality is what's important.", he said. "That and carbon footprint." "Oh, and finally, personal taste."
In California, especially in Irvine where live, we are fortunate to have the hybridized Valencia orange, which comes to market about now and is available through most of the summer. It's cousin, the Blood Orange, also shares a similar seasonality. We are also fortunate to have a 12-month growing season of the more common, naval orange to meet my weekly demands through the entire year.Jimmy says that different cultures want variety of sweetness in their orange, due no doubt to what grew in their country of origin. Our Mexican and other neighbors to the south seem to like their citrus sweet, while his customers from the Middle East prefer a more bitter taste.
My mother told me that when I was a baby in Iowa I had an allergy to oranges, but after a few years of deprivation, I have been on a quest to catch up ever since.
I recently visited our state capitol twice for legislative information on California's Exchange, Covered California. I wouldn't presume to capture the effects of the ACA, but I think in my next post I'll share what I know about Concierge Medicine. You might find that interesting.