How Fresh is Your Fruit?

How fresh is your fruit? Thanks to the global marketplace we live in, shoppers can buy just about any fresh fruit or vegetable at any time of the year. Strawberries in February? Sure! Fresh tomatoes in April? Why not! But when you buy a fruit or vegetable off-season, it has to travel around the world to arrive in your grocery store. So, where is your fresh fruit coming from?

How Fresh is Your Fruit


Blueberries naturally flower and fruit in the spring and early summer. If you live near a fruit farm, picking your blueberries (or any berry, really) is a fun summertime activity for the whole family! Whether you eat them as-is or love to bake them into muffins and pies, fresh blueberries are also nice to have on hand.

But if blueberries flower in the summer, how can your grocery store have them in November? Most of our off-season blueberries are imported into the United States from the southern hemisphere, where our winter is their summer. Chile is the largest blueberry producer in the Southern Hemisphere, followed by Argentina and New Zealand. So at the very best those “fresh” blueberries have been in transit for a few days! They may travel by planes, boats, trains, and automobiles to arrive on your store shelf. Some blueberries, however, have been genetically tinkered with by the breeding programs of North Carolina State University and the University of Florida to allow them to grow successfully even in colder weather.


Living in New England means that the team has picked plenty of apples in their time. And yes, an apple right off the branch tastes better than anything you’ll find in the store! But we can’t think of a time where we’ve been in a grocery store and not seen at least 3 or 4 types of apples for sale. So where are those apples coming from in the off-season?

Believe it or not, they might be coming from a warehouse. There’s actually a procedure that lets growers store their apples for ONE YEAR. “The scientific storage method that growers call CA lets packers preserve the fruit for up to a year in cold, dark rooms with almost no loss of taste to the fruit, growers say. In the sealed storage room, oxygen, carbon dioxide and nitrogen, as well as temperature and humidity, are regulated to keep the apples in a kind of suspended animation.”

Commercial apple growers in New England, Michigan, Oregon, and elsewhere in the world might be storing their bumper crop with this process. They then sell this fruit at a higher premium in the off-season.


95% of all pears grown in the US come from Washington, Oregon, and northern California. But, China is, by far and large, the biggest cultivator of pears worldwide (more than 14x the amount of pears produced in the US). But here’s a crazy fact–growers let fresh pears sit around ON PURPOSE.

Unlike apples, most pear varieties do not ripen nicely while still on the tree. Once commercial pears are picked, growers cool them down to about 30 degrees Fahrenheit. Bartlett pears need to be cooled only for a day or two. And, winter pears such as Anjou, Bosc, and Comice require 2 to 6 weeks for optimal effect. Without this chilling process, a mature picked pear will sit and sit and eventually decompose without ever ripening. So your “fresh” pear could have been picked weeks ago but on purpose!

Fresh Fruit Gift Baskets

At, we rely on our close partnerships with fruit farmers to purchase the freshest produce possible for our fruit gift baskets. Our team inspects each fruit before placing it in each gift basket. For example, a fruit with even the slightest bruising will be replaced with one in pristine condition. So how fresh is your fruit? If you buy from us, know that it will be the freshest fruit we can find!



© Featured photo by Magone from Getty Images