Smart shopping starts with you, and you can help set the standard for grocery chains when looking for vegetables, fruit, spices and herbs. Too many mass chains are selling perishables with no concern for freshness, ripeness or quality. Some places dump produce into bins, others stack new product on top of old, etc. This is a very poor practice, although not always commonplace as there are some grocers who value freshness.
Sometimes when I shop people look at me funny while I am inspecting berries, or checking for expiration labels. There is nothing worse than buying berries or a potato and having it go bad in two or three days. I ran across this site by Tony Tantillo today, which shows smart shopping tips when buying produce, herbs, etc. There was also a nice selection of recipes which used base ingredients instead of packaged goods. If more people were selective about what they purchase, stores might start to notice the amount of food they are disposing of….or maybe not.
On a side note, if you do purchase berries and other fruit like me, you can prolong the shelf life by giving them a quick rinse with tap water (peaches, bananas, etc) or a bath in a diluted mix of apple cider vinegar or white vinegar and water. A couple drops to about four cups of water does the trick. Let the fruit soak for about a min and then rinse well. I have prolonged berries for several days which sure beats throwing them out when they mold after a couple days. It’s also good for preparing it for a snack, as now you don’t have to wash before eating, easy pickings when you open the refrigerator door!