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How to find a good fruit market

Last week, I went inside a supermarket to buy some fruit. I normally don’t buy fruit at supermarkets, and I was reminded of the reason why on that occasion.
There was barely anything that looked edible, except for the vegetables. The apples were boring. The melons looked unripe. The grapes looked a bit shriveled and dirty. The other fruits were nothing exciting.

For most people, that’s the sight of the fruit selection at this time of the year. That’s if you don’t have access to a good fruit market.

I was told by a fruit importer in Montreal that there’s only 5 to 10% of produce that enters the country that’s worth anything. Everything else is low quality and is what you find everywhere.

Compare that to the market where I buy my fruits. At the same time of the year, I bought some of the best mangoes I’ve ever had in my life. The grapes were incredible. The melons were bursting with flavor. Everything I bought was extraordinary.

Why is there such a big difference between specialized fruit markets and regular supermarkets for fruit quality? The specialized markets order the best quality fruits through their own channels, while the supermarkets only want to compete on price. They don’t care about quality.

So where do you find a good fruit grocer?

It’s different in every city, and some are better than others. If there’s a big central market in your city, you might want to start there, and examine the shops around it.

In North America, the East Coast cities usually have much better importers than the West Coast cities. But on the West Coast you’ll find more farmers markets and organic food.

In Australia, the best market I found was the Queen Victoria Market. It’s got the flavor of a true year-round market. But in those markets, generally the best part is the little stores surrounding it. That’s where you’ll find some of the best importers in the country.

If you can’t find the markets I’m talking about, start with Chinatown. The produce stores in Chinatown are usually open to selling you fruits by the case and negotiating a bit on price.

Speaking of negotiation, the profit margin on a case of fruit is pretty small. As long as there’s a deal for the case versus buying by the pound, I don’t argue on price.

Once you find a good grocer, keep going there week after week to establish a relationship. Here are the elements of a good market:

– They should ideally ONLY sell fruits and vegetables and almost no other foods.
– They should sell you fruit by the case and be eager to do so.
– They should let you taste all the fruits before you buy them.
– They should give you a discount on the case.
– They should have the best-quality fruit only.

Eating fruit during the day and other foods after 6 p.m. is a great way to follow a high-raw diet. But for that, you need to have a good supply of the best-quality fruit. So start your hunt this week!

Frederic Patenaude has been an important influence in the raw food and natural health movement since he started writing and publishing in 1998, first by being the editor of Just Eat an Apple magazine. He is the author of over 20 books, including The Raw Secrets, the Sunfood Cuisine and Raw Food Controversies. Since 2013 he’s been the Editor-in-Chief of Renegade Health.

Frederic loves to relentlessly debunk nutritional myths. He advocates a low-fat, plant-based diet and has had over 10 years of experience with raw vegan diets.