Places to shop for fresh fruit and vegetables?

peach sliceFeeling the drag of winter, ChuckD emails:

Something that would really help me make it through would be access to a nice assortment of fresh fruit (and not apples, pears, oranges of any kind, or bananas please. They're played out).
In this the Golden Age of Shipping, is it possible to find some peaches or apricots, or other tasty summery tidbits that don't taste like, well, my unsweetened oatmeal, cuz that's getting played out too!
Schenectady area would be great but at this point we'll travel (within reason).

This could be a tough one. And while we sympathize with Chuck's desire for tasty produce, on some level this may be a case where we all just have to learn to deal -- this is the Northeast and it is winter. A little winter longing for fruit will make that first strawberry of the season taste even better.

So... any suggestions for Chuck? Please share!

Comments

Good luck. They do sometimes have stone fruits (peaches, etc.) around here in winter that come from South America, but IMO they aren't worth the money. The only way to ship fruit that far is to grow varieties that are selected for their ability to be shipped thousands of miles without rotting and bruising, rather than for good flavor. They have to be harvested well before they are ripe, or they would never survive the trip. Probably makes more sense in the winter to buy canned peaches - at least the varieties they grow for canning are selected for flavor, and allowed to ripen on the trees. Personally, I just make do with bananas/apples/citrus in the winter and look forward to the local fruit from the farmer's market in the summer.

I've also been jonesing for fresh veggies. It's hard to get fruit that tastes summery up here when it's February, but I think you'd have some pretty decent luck with things that don't grow here anyway. Some tropical stuff.

Fresh Market has star fruit and pineapple, but the mark up on some of their items kind of kills me sometimes.
I've gotten some chicory at Hannaford. Not bad - a nice bitter green.

If you're looking for something a little less cookie cutter, there are also ethnic markets. I'm not sure what's up in Schenectady, but if you're willing to travel down to Albany's Central Ave, you can get a bunch of different veggies at the Asian Food Market on Colvin or the Asian Supermarket. They've got persimmon, pomelo, hami melons, snow pea tips, different kinds of chinese cabbages, and plums & asian pears for cheaper than other grocery stores.
I'm really digging the fresh mushrooms (oyster, king oyster, shiitake) and green Asian veggie selection at the Asian Supermarket.

I'd rather chew on a strawberry from Fisher Price than one from Price Chopper in February.
However, try ordering just-picked citrus from FL. My grandmother has had good luck with Cross Creek Groves.
I'm with you.. Next year, damn it, I'm going to remember to pick extra berries and freeze them.

Ryans produce on Railroad house road usually has some good produce almost all year round, you could also venture down to the Empire State Plaza's concourse market from 10-2 on Wednesdays. Despite them not having fruit, a roasted butternut squash might soothe your taste for sweet..Also, did you try the Fresh Market that went in recently in Latham?

Last week at Price Chopper I paid $.99 for a delicious mango. That's about as cheap as they come. This is about the time of year that I start buying frozen berries. They may not be fresh, but they are still good, and add some welcome variation to the usual fruits available this time of year.

Seconding the mango suggestion. They were also 99 cents at Hannaford last week. I made mango lime sorbet out of a few of them. We still have strawberries from Indian Ladder in the freezer but they're almost gone. It's a grim time of year.

What about the Veggie Mobile!

http://www.cdcg.org/VeggieMobile.html

The market runs throughout the winter.

Check the blog on snowy days though as they may not be taking the truck out.

http://theveggiemobile.blogspot.com/

Hurray for the veggiemobile!

...and don't forget the Honest Weight Coop, which has a huge variety of fruits and veggies AND a knowledgeable staff who can tell you how to eat them.

I second Honest Weight. Even if it's not amazing this time of year, it's still generally better than Price Chopper. Have you checked out the co-op in Niskayuna? It's closer to you and probably also better quality than the supermarket. niskayunacoop.com

I've discovered that this area contains these large retail establishments that are called "supermarkets" in these markets, there is actually a produce section that sells fruit and vegetables.

They stock a variety of fruits, including exotic fruits, although most are shipped from South America, where it is summertime or the Imperial Valley of California, where it is always summertime.

I believe that they have these places near Schenectady too. If you want to pay too much and drive, there is a Whole Foods in Hadley, MA about 90 minutes away.

If it's mangoes you seek, try the Asian market on Colvin ave. That's where all the Filipinos I work with go and believe me, they know their mangoes. Indeed, their prices are usually the best of any the other ethnic supermarket around.

We tend to stick to bananas, apples and citrus during the winter.

If you're crazing something unseasonal, the best bet is the freezer aisle at your local market. Everything gets a little mushy when you defrost it, but its nothing that can't be solved by whizzing it into a smoothie or alcoholic beverage.

@Dani -- homemade mango lime sorbet?!? That sounds amazing! How does one make that?

@Kert: actually, I misspoke. It was mango lime sherbet, not sorbet. The recipe came from Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, and I am totally making it with rum next time. Here it is!

Hey, thanks all!
Some good suggestions out there.
[Except for Duff's. ; ) ]

But Pine corn seems like a distant memory to me right now.

C.

try f.w.ryan's

Taste some LSD and eat a fruit roll-up.

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