Does My Local Supermarket Do This?
Perhaps when you first learned that Whole Foods will cut produce for you, you were a little skeptical that this practice is widespread. A quick survey of major grocery store chains near Earth911 headquarters confirmed, though, that many supermarket produce departments have no problem catering to your needs.
Produce managers at a Safeway location, a Fry's Food Store (whose parent company is Kroger Foods) and an Albertsons store (whose parent company is SuperValu Inc.) all said they regularly cut produce for customers.
The produce manager at our local Fry's added that customers should ask for assistance before trying to break something apart themselves. Like Whole Foods, Fry's commonly cuts items like cabbage and lettuce.
Our Albertsons store also suggested checking their prepackaged produce section because many items that are sold in smaller portions are already cut.
All the stores indicated this is a common practice, not a secret.
Next time you're in need of a small amount of a produce item, take the time to ask a produce representative if they'll cut it for you. While there is no guarantee that all stores will be willing to cut all products, it doesn't hurt to ask.
What About My Farmers Market?
Many vendors at farmers markets already sell their fruits and vegetables by weight, so the next question is whether those items can be cut or divided in any way.
Farmers markets, whose vendors are often small farmers, face unique challenges. For this reason, cutting produce at markets is not widespread.
"If consumers at our markets were to cut into or break off a piece or part of a vegetable or fruit it would destroy the value of the product and it actually would be a health hazard," Samantha Franklin, media representative for the Arizona Community Farmers Markets, told Earth911 in an email. "As much as I love the theory of reducing waste and purchasing what you are to consume, it is just not likely for most products in most situations."
Dee Logan of Farmers Market Support Services at the Arizona Community Farmers Markets confirmed this. "In order to cut produce and present it a market - it must be done in a certified commercial kitchen which is why grocery stores can do that," Logan said. She also explained that the FDA 's new food safety regulations impact how farmers markets sell produce, making it difficult to cut produce on site.
If you're at a farmers market, it can't hurt to ask vendors about their policies for buying by weight, but when supporting your local farmer at a market, you may have to buy an entire cabbage.
Looking for more ways to cut back on food waste? Check Out: Reduce Food Waste in 5 Easy Steps