Diversity was a word I usually ignored. I never thought of the diversity of anything-not of animals, plants, people, objects, nor food. However, last class brought me to realize that our food is lacking in variety and taste. I suddenly realized why I have such a hard time grocery shopping! Everything is pretty similar, very standard, and bland. Think about it: a standard grocery store has an entire aisle of cereal, an entire aisle of canned food, about two aisles of frozen food, an aisle of chemicals and cleaning products, an aisle of sweet things and candy, and miscellaneous aisles. I usually buy nothing from those aisles except the occasional canned vegetable or soup, or paper towels. I admit, grocery stores these days are very limited in variety.

Beans Everywhere

As a child, my parents usually made good meals consisting of cooked chicken, steak, or fish, mashed potatoes, rice and beans, and vegetables, seasoned to perfection. My Cuban grandparents also made many bean-soups called potaje (poe-ta-heh) in Spanish. They consisted of various kinds of beans, little pieces of pork and other vegetables, but mainly beans. Most of the times, they would blend it all into a delicious porridge. The dishes my family would make were not exceedingly various, but were for the most part, delicious and different from the usual American grocery market.

Eating Organic

Lately, I have been trying out organic foods because frankly, I have grown tired of the bland foods I find at Publix, Target, and Walmart. It’s not easy finding truly organic products, since there are some products that pose as organic(goes to show how powerful packaging design is). The most obvious differences I have come across so far are the fruits and vegetables; I was quite astounded at the differences of richness and texture between organic and non-organic bread, apples and tomatoes. A few weeks ago, I ate two organic apples, both of which were very rich in sweetness and texture, however when I ate an apple in Thanksgiving Break, I noticed the stark difference; this non-organic apple was quite tasteless, and hard. I also bought organic tomatoes which were ripe, soft, and tasteful; the taste was very powerful, very delicious and savory. However, the tomatoes I eat at restaurants tend to be harder, and tasteless in comparison. I also purchased organic tortilla bread and regular wheat bread which were much more “real” and delicious than the normal non-organic bread products. Who knows how much MSG restaurant and packaged foods have to make up for the loss of taste and richness…

Goodbye Publix

Yep. Time to stop shopping at Publix. Besides, I never really liked Publix-I worked there for a while and it was a really bad experience. And they are quite expensive just because “they serve you better,” psshhh yea right! Anyways, enough of my dislike for Publix. I have decided that starting next semester I will start shopping at local farmer’s market. Though they may be pricey, I don’t need a whole lot of food each week. I am not sure if I will become a diversified eater, but I do know I will not  pass up good taste and naturally healthy food. Next step, shopping plastic-less…is that even possible?

By Sean Cruz

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11 responses »

  1. Maggie Lee says:

    You’ve inspired me to buy a few organic fruits and veggies and taste compare them to the “normal” ones I usually buy. My parents had always said that organic was a rip off, and that it’s the same thing, it just costs more. And being a broke college kid, I have never really argued that statement. But if people do swear that it tastes better, I definitely want to see if I can taste it. I still probably won’t buy organic, because of the higher price. Later in the future, if money is not as much of an issue, I would probably attempt to buy organic all the time.

  2. Amanda Koh says:

    Its true how limited the grocery stores are here. I’ve always found it strange that even though the climate in florida is somewhat similar to Singapore, the types and varieties of food are sorely lacking. Maybe its because there are more local farms in Asia. That will be probably something i’d look into the next time I’m home.

  3. maggie lee says:

    I also worked at Publix as well as Winn Dixie. -__- They definitely don’t “serve you any better”, especially when it comes to produce. I’ve actually found most of the farmer’s markets that I have visited to be cheaper than most grocery stores in general, especially Publix. Publix is convient because it’s just down the road from Ringling, however, it really is worth it to go to the farmer’s market.

  4. bhall1 says:

    I like what was said about how much richer organic food is as compared to store bought food that’s been exposed to systemic pesticides. There have been a few times when i’ve eaten organic in my life that have burned such a delicious taste into my memory that it is hard to ever satisfy that hunger again. I was probably ten years old and my uncle’s neighbors had just made steak out of one of their cows they slaughtered the other day. I tried it and it was among the best things i’ve ever eaten. Organic doesn’t only mean fruits and vegetables.

  5. Matthew Decker says:

    If you want to get some great local, organic vegetables check out Jessica’s Organic Farm, They grow a lot of right on their property, which is really reasonably priced, and tastes great! They do sell other produce that they cant grow themselves, which is shipped in from other parts of the state/ country, but its still all organic. They also have a good selection of different types of organic rice, fruit, cheese etc…

    http://www.jessicasorganicfarm.com/

  6. This is a very good post! I liked the background you gave of the foods you ate growing up. I definitely agree with Publix being too expensive, even their store brand is too high. I’ve been going to Sweetbay recently because they are cheaper, however I still feel like I’m in the same grocery store most of the time. I have definitely been looking for other alternatives as far as eating fresh. Thank you Matt for recommending Jessica’s Organic Farm. I have never heard of it and am very interested!

  7. The first time I went to Publix i was completely shocked at some of the prices they were charging for some of the vegetables.
    The environment itself in Publix also feels weird…It almost feels as though they’re very ‘proud’ weird, but that’s the feeling i get when i walk in. Like they believe they’re much better than other grocery stores.

    I totally prefer farmers market. they’re so open, friendly and nice and easy on my wallet.

    -Asage

  8. Yes, Publix is very proud of themselves; I remember when I went to the new employees meeting thing there they spoke about how they are proud of their service, “quality of food products”, etc. But in reality, they are just like any other supermarket. I remember in the meeting that we(Publix) was in a “competition” with the competing supermarkets such as SWeetbay, Farmer’s Market, Winn-Dixie, etc.

  9. mvalenti (9) says:

    I don’t think I can trust stores like Walmart and Publix when it comes to food anymore. Everything just kinda feels like lies. “This is organic” or “full of vitamins” or blah blah blah. Watching those videos in class and looking at the produce section, they are right. Every fruit looks the same, every vegetable, no variety at all. You’re probably eating a genetically modified… thing and ingesting pesticides along with it. Bleh.

  10. Grace Betts says:

    I am another ex-Publix employee and feel quite similar. It was irritating to know we had higher prices because we had ‘good service’ and an ‘incredibly clean’ shopping experience, when really, both of those things should already be included into any sort of food handling corporation. I too, have also found the extreme differences from organic and non-organic products. It is a shame eateries can’t afford to buy organic foods and with the shrinking economy, it’s only getting worse. It’s also incredibly frustrating to know that the packaging companies do their best to lie as much as possible with their labeling. Unfortunate that I am also tumbling into that industry, but for decorative reasons to persuade people, not false advertisement.

  11. You brought up an interesting point: Publix is no cheaper than organic food from a farmer’s market, sometimes it’s even more expensive. I wish we didn’t live in a world with unshakable and dated structures based on illogical and dangerous practices…even when it doesn’t make any financial sense (which is always the bottom line), we continue to sell shitty processed food en mass.

    -Victor

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