Six Tips to Picking Fresh Produce

We’ve all been there: frozen in the grocery aisle in front of the fruits and vegetables, unsure of which to pick. Grocery shopping can be gruelling if you don’t know how to choose fresh produce, leaving you rummaging through the rows in search of the elusive One. To save you from this crisis – and any crippling self-doubt – here’s how to pick six of our most popular fruits and vegetables. 



These gorgeous berries should be a deep blue or purple colour, and not overly soft, wrinkled or mouldy. Their colour is an indicator of their maturity, not their size. You can shake them gently in their container to ensure they’re moving freely, and check that there aren’t juice stains or soggy fruit.

While fresh blueberries should be refrigerated at home, all berries taste better when they’re eaten at room temperature. Before digging in, remove them from the fridge and let them sit for 30 minutes.


The bananas you pick depend on what you have planned for them. If they’re for immediate eating, pick bananas that are bright yellow with little or no green at the ends. If they’re for eating in a few days, then choose bright yellow ones with more green around their ends.

These should be stored at room temperature and should ripen over the next couple of days. Either way, avoid bananas that are bruised or split.   

Hass Avocados

So if healthier, tastier, environmentally-friendly meat sounds good to you, drop by River Valley for our newly redecorated butcher counter. You’ll find our butchers Ryan and Henry, ready to round out your grocery trip with the perfect cut.

As for the favourite one on Ryan’s grocery list? “I’m quite partial to the sirloin. I cook it medium rare, 3 or 3 ½ minutes on each side, and then I let it rest.” 


A deep yellow colour usually indicates a ripe lemon, whereas a lighter, greenish yellow one is immature. In general, a juicier lemon will be heavier with thinner skin – you can test this by weighing a few lemons of roughly the same size in your hand and choosing the heaviest one.

To get the most juice out of your lemons at home, roll them back on forth on the counter under the heel of your hand.    

Truss Tomatoes

Truss tomatoes, or tomatoes on a vine, ripen from the top down. Look for a deep red colour on the top two tomatoes and a lighter colour on the bottom ones – these will ripen over the next couple of days. The truss should be bright green and not dry, and the tomatoes should be of roughly the same size.

Once you’ve brought them home, store them in a dry place at room temperature. A common mistake is to refrigerate them when cold storage actually slows the ripening process.   


You’ll want your potatoes to be firm, smooth and unblemished, without cuts, wrinkles or discoloration. Spuds with a green tint have been overexposed to light, and can taste bitter and be toxic in large amounts.

At home, store your potatoes in a cool, dry and dark location with good ventilation. Do not store them in the fridge as the cold temperature will convert their starch to sugar, altering their taste and nutrients.

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