Produce shopping at a suburban Jewel
The produce all looked good. Very good. Suspiciously good. Each specimen was just like the others, all of uniform size, shape, and color. Not a spot, speck, or blemish to be found. Like little plastic models, all arranged in neat piles. I almost expected to see signs politely requesting that we not touch the displays. It hardly looked like food. I wandered a bit, mildly confused---where are the real vegetables hiding?
There were red bell peppers and green bell peppers. There were white onions and yellow onions. There were russet potatoes, red potatoes, and sweet potatoes. There were the saddest-looking beefsteak tomatoes I've ever seen not in the middle of winter. I finally found some decent tomatoes on a separate display of "gourmet" tomato varieties (grape tomatoes, plum tomatoes, roma tomatoes in special sealed packages of five, and tomatoes on vines).
The aesthetic quality of the fruits and vegetables we get here in the city (at least at the places where I shop, but everyone thinks I live in a food desert) is rarely that good. I don't know if this is the result of longer distribution lines, worse pickings by smaller distributors with less cash and clout, or what. Eventually, you just get used to checking very carefully for items that are ripe but not spoiled. You get used to eating things that have cosmetic blemishes on them but still taste the way they ought to taste. But holy cow, you also get used to the wonderful variety of fruits and vegetables available. Apples that aren't just one of three colors. Tomatoes with stripes on them. Zucchinis in weird shapes. Varieties of greens that you can't even pronounce. And that's not even at the farmers markets.
I wonder what the city Jewels are like.