Social Question

JLeslie's avatar

Does anyone like when your grocery store rains on your fruits and vegetables?

Asked by JLeslie (47510 points ) February 13th, 2012

Most grocery stores where I live now water their fruits and vegetables and I hate it. Soaking wet, and then I have to put it in a plastic bag, and later dry off when I get home before storing. I first witnessed this when I moved to Raleigh, NC; the Kroger there even had thunderstorm playing through speakers when it sprinkled the produce.

I think maybe this is done with midwest based chains more than others, but I only base this on personal experience and no statistical data. Kroger and Schnucks do it, and they are based in Ohio and Missouri respectively. I don’t remember Publix doing it, and I don’t think they have started to in new stores?

I have not found one person, customer, who is in favor of the practice.

A friend of mine hypothesized it is so the produce weighs more, but I had thought it was because someone seems to think it makes the fruits and veg look more appetizing.

I’m ready to start a petition to get them to stop it, I find it so annoying.

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35 Answers

augustlan's avatar

It’s pretty common here in the mid Atlantic, and I think it’s supposed to keep the produce fresh longer (but I could be wrong). I’m not a fan of having to pick up wet anything at the grocery store. I wish my stores had paper towels right there to dry them off before putting them in the plastic bag.

wilma's avatar

I thought that it was to keep the produce fresher, more hydrated.
It can be annoying and I don’t like having to dodge the spray when I’m trying to find just the right leeks, but I figured it was probably keeping the veggies fresher, so I’d put up with it.
The small family owned grocery store in my town doesn’t have the sprayers and I’m sure that it’s because they can’t afford it. I can choose my lettuce at my leisure.
Any farmers or produce professionals out there know if it’s helping with freshness, or if it’s just to make us think it is?

Kayak8's avatar

I don’t really care if the vegetables are dripping, but inevitably when I reach for something, the sprayer comes on and that is what I hate about the “rain.” Particularly when it is cold outside, getting sprayed is not my idea of fun. If you are reaching for something near the top and toward the back, nearly half your body gets a cold misty shower . . . arggggggh

digitalimpression's avatar

I think it’s cool.. I love when the speakers come on with the thunder sound and the “rain” comes down. I don’t care why they do it. I like it.

JLeslie's avatar

@digitalimpression I am just checking, do you do all your grocery shopping, and put away the veggies? Do you buy produce for several days, or, do you go shopping quite often and use the veg within a day or two? Do you cook for yourself daily, or eat out a lot? I am not assuming anything, just curious, that is why I am asking.

keobooks's avatar

The only thing that bothers me is when they make it rain on the ginger root. Ginger isn’t supposed to get wet because it will get moldy. If you keep it in a dark dry cool place, you can keep it for a long time. When they started the little rain storms in my favorite store, the ginger would be half sodden and I had to buy the tiniest pieces because otherwise it would go bad within a few days.

I think several people must have complained because they finally moved the ginger to a part of the store that stays dry .

digitalimpression's avatar

@JLeslie I do the shopping roughly half the time. What we do is immediately chop up all the veggies into bits and toss them in the freezer. We are then able to take them out and put them into something we are cooking and they are already “prepped”.

I never thought about the intricacies of the rainstorm effect nor have I had any issues with it. It seems like a very trivial thing to stress about.

marinelife's avatar

I hate that!

Blackberry's avatar

I thought it was cool as a kid, but I’m indifferent now. It saves me from having to wash them when I get home, lol.

zenvelo's avatar

It’s done at Safeway here in California. I was told it was to keep the produce fresh, there used to be spray hoses where they watered by hand, and now it ‘s automatic.

I don’t buy produce at Safeway anymore, the organic at Safeway is low quality.

JLeslie's avatar

@digitalimpression I see. Well, I definitely don’t want to do any prep when I first get home from the grocery store, it is enough to shop, unload it all, and put it away. This is part of the reason I resent the store raining on my produce. I don’t wash produce until right before I am going to use it, bevause water hurts some vegetables, so having a consistent rule, nothing in the drawer is washed, makes it easy not to screw it up. I don’t freeze anything I buy fresh, I buy the items frozen if I am going to use frozen. So, I see why it does not bother you, but does bother me.

SpatzieLover's avatar

I do not like it at all. Our closest store uses bins of ice, instead of mist. I much prefer this method. Alas, they offer little variety and don’t have enough organic available.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I don’t sweat the small stuff.

deni's avatar

I’ve never thought twice about it, but I think it’s hilarious that the one store played thunderstorm sounds when the spray come on HAHA!!!

I don’t mind it because I don’t put stuff in bags anyhow and most of my basket is usually just fruit so nothing else that shouldn’t get wet is getting wet if the fruit is wet. haha that sounded silly

One time though I did stick my head in to look at some broccoli or something closer and it started raining all over me. I just laughed.

I thought they did it everywhere though, @JLeslie….though I noticed them doing it way more often when I lived in PA than I do now in CO.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Oh, that would be so awesome, @deni, to hear thunderstorm sounds!!!

JLeslie's avatar

For some reason I think the lights actually flashed on the shelves in the produce section when the thunderstorm started, but I am not sure if that is in my imagination or a real memory. Haha.

YARNLADY's avatar

Our stores have little thunder and lightening storms when they spray the veges. I love it, and the kids want to stay by the produce just to see it again. I like that the stores want to keep their produce fresh and clean (so much is picked over). I always wash my fresh produce at home, so being wet is good, as far as I’m concerned.

Our store keeps paper towels on nearly every aisle, and supplies clean wipes at the door.

downtide's avatar

I’d rather have wet veg than have it all shrivelled and dried out. I guess it keeps the produce in better condition in a dry, low-humidity atmosphere.

We don’t ever get a dry, low-humidity atmosphere round here and I’ve never seen it done.

deni's avatar

@downtide Why am I laughing so hard over the first sentence of your answer?

wilma's avatar

I think we all would rather that @downtide.
@deni ;)

Dutchess_III's avatar

You know, after you crack open a head of lettuce, if you run a little water in it and wrap it up again, it keeps it nice a crispy for quite a long time.
If you wrap your celery in damp paper towels and wrap it up in plastic, it stays crisp for a long time too.

Blondesjon's avatar

You know what? I’ve never even wondered about it. It’s been that way for as long as I can remember and it’s one of those things I just accept as it is what it is.

Your question actually opened my eyes to something that was so ingrained in my psyche that I never even questioned the legitimacy of spraying the produce. Now I’m thinking it’s kind of gross.

I’ll have to get back to you on this.

Dutchess_III's avatar

How is it gross @Blondesjon ? It’s just rinsing them off.

Blondesjon's avatar

@Dutchess_III . . . you’ll have to excuse me. my mind has just been blown. i don’t know what i know anymore.

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III The iceberg lettuce is always wrapped in plastic/saran in my markets, and yes, sometimes they actually spray it with water. Some of the other lettuces are not wrapped.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@JLeslie Yes, the lettuce here is wrapped in plastic too, but after you open it the water begins to evaporate. I’ve found that putting a tablespoon or so of water in the lettuce after every time you use it helps keep it crisp after you bring it home from the store.

If they are spraying saran wrapped lettuce with water in the store, which is obviously a fruitless, useless exercise, it’s just because of where it it on the display. It happens to be in the rain forest area.

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III Exactly, in the rainforest. I spin my lettuce, and then store it in the same tupperwear container and it stays very crisp for several days.

Aethelflaed's avatar

I like it. I almost never get to see rain around here, much less rain with thunder, so I’ll take what I can get. Plus, if I stand real close, it’ll sprinkle on my face, just like real rain. And then, for 35 seconds, I can pretend it’s spring.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I think it keeps the stuff fresh longer.

ibstubro's avatar

I hate the little rain shower at the grocery.

It means you’re paying a per-pound price for added water.
It means if you leave your sodden produce in the bag when you get home, it will rot quickly.
It means you stand a chance of getting peed on in the produce section.

I usually grab my produce by the bottom of the stalk or bunch and give it a couple of quick flings on the floor (especially if there’s a mat nearby) before I bag it. Get the really loose water off of the leaves and make a little produce protest puddle on the floor.

JLeslie's avatar

Funny this Q woke up again. I’m back shopping at Publix living in FL again and no rain! I had forgotten all about it. The veggies are fine without the rain. Quality is better here than in TN and NC where they did that ridiculousness.

Protest puddle could kill someone. Slippery floors are dangerous.

ibstubro's avatar

I woke it. It was in the right column on another question I answered and I liked it.

I don’t think the protest puddle is enough to make anyone slip. More like a protest piddle. The real reason I do it is because if you bag things like parsley and cilantro that the store has peed on and fail to take them out, dry them off and re-bag in a fresh bag at home, they will rot in a day or two. Damp is good, sopping wet is bad.

I buy most of my produce at Aldi, because it’s usually cheap and ready to use. And they never pee on it!

JLeslie's avatar

@ibstubro I hated having to dry off everything when I got home. I’m too lazy for that.

ibstubro's avatar

Admit it, @JLeslie, I’m just not going to dry them at home.
I do the same flip thing with veggies I wash here at the house, but outside in the summer and in the shower in the winter. Not enough to bruise them , but enough that water won’t collect in the bottom of the bag. Sometimes if there’s no mat, I’ll sling the excess water back on the other veggies.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been spritzed standing there trying to dig out a relatively dry veg from the bottom of the bin. All that rain shower is doing in adding water weight and making the greens on top look purdy.

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