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  • Produce Facts: Walla Walla Sweet Onions

    Aug 11, 2016

    Trivia to Impress Your Friends

    sweet onion

    The Walla Walla sweet onion story began over a century ago when Peter Peiri brought sweet onion seed from Corsica, Italy to the moderate climate of Walla Walla, Washington in the late 1800s.

    Walla Walla sweet onions have been produced as a specialty vegetable crop since 1900, developed over generations through the process of carefully hand selecting onions from each year’s crop, ensuring exceptional sweetness, jumbo size, and round shape. The onions are available mid-June through early September. 

    Even though they’re sweet, Walla Walla sweet onions are fat free and low in calories. One medium raw onion contains only 60 calories. Onions are a good source of vitamin C, are sodium free and contain no cholesterol.

    The Walla Walla sweet onion was designated as the official state vegetable for Washington in 2007. 

    “Walla Walla” is a Native American word meaning “many waters.”

    Get more onion facts from the National Onion Association

    Important Facts

    • Store at 45-50 F with a relative humidity of 65-70%.

    • Approximately 20 growers cultivate Walla Walla sweet onions on about 800 acres in the fertile soils of the Walla Walla Valley in southeastern Washington and northeastern Oregon.

    • Because they have a higher water content than most onions, Walla Walla sweet onions have a shorter shelf life. If kept separate in a cool, ventilated location, these sweets can be stored for three to six weeks.
  • Arcadian Harvest Blend

    Aug 04, 2016

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    The Arcadian Harvest blend packed under the Snoboy brand by Mann's Packing is plate ready, washed and ready to eat. 

    It contains fully mature (grown 60+ days), petite whole leaves that are more robust than baby lettuces. It includes unique European lettuce species, bred from various combinations of green leaf, red leaf, tangos, lolla rosa, batavia, and oaks. Consumers will taste a flavor profile of European varieties.

    Arcadian Harvest is ranked #1 for visual appeal in the "Lettuce Revolution" study by Technomic.

    A 1 oz. serving of Arcadian Harvest equals 1.5 oz. of Spring Mix in plate coverage. It works well with dressings and on your buffet. It stands up to heat better than other salad blends, so pile it high on your favorite burger.

    To see a side by side comparison of Arcadian Harvest and Spring Mix watch this video from our produce experts.

    Important Facts

    • Store at 32-35°F with 90-98% humidity. 

    • Good quality lettuce will have deep color leaves. The edges of the leaves will 
      be fairly thick and crisp.

    • Avoid product that looks wilted or has leaves that are brown on the edges.

    • Lettuce may wilt if it is exposed to drafts or stored at warm temperatures.
  • Produce Facts: Watermelons

    Jul 27, 2016

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    Watermelons are grown on a vine-like flowering plant and have a smooth hard rind, usually green with dark green stripes or yellow spots. Their interior flesh is juicy and sweet and usually deep red to pink, but it is sometimes orange, yellow, or white.

    Watermelons are harvested at full maturity, since they don't typically develop further in internal color nor increase in sugars after being removed from the vine. The ground spot changes from pale white to a creamy yellow at proper harvest maturity.

    Many watermelons are still shipped without pre-cooling or refrigeration during transit. Fruit must be utilized for prompt market sales as quality declines rapidly under these conditions.

    • Watermelons are 92% water.
    • Early explorers used watermelons as canteens.
    • The heaviest watermelon weighs 350.5 lb. and was grown by Chris Kent of Sevierville, Tennessee, October 4, 2013. See the record-breaking melon.
    • In 1939 seedless watermelons were developed by treating the un-pollinated flowers of watermelons with a specific acid, which resulted in the seedless watermelon.
    Important Facts

    • Storage life is typically 14 days at 59°F with up to 21 days attainable at 45-50°F. 

    • Watermelons should be symmetrical and uniform in appearance. The surface should be waxy and bright in appearance.

    • There should be an absence of scars, sunburn, transit abrasions or other surface defects or dirt. No evidence of bruising. 

    • Appears heavy for its size.
  • Kohlrabi - Root Vegetable or Cabbage?

    Jul 21, 2016

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    Kohlrabi, also known as turnip cabbage, is a form of cabbage and a member of the mustard family. It is not a root vegetable, but rather a fleshy bulbous stem just above the ground.

    There are both green and purple skinned types, and both have creamy white flesh. It may look like a turnip, but its taste is very different; it has a sweet, peppery, broccoli or cucumber flavor and a crisp texture.

    Kohlrabi is excellent eaten raw by itself or in salads, and it may also be steamed, stir fried, braised or stuffed. The leaves are edible too, and when cooked have a flavor similar to collard greens.

    Kohlrabi is high in fiber, an excellent source of vitamin C and a good source of potassium. It contains about 40 calories per cup. Get detailed nutritional information about kohlrabi from the USDA. 

    Important Facts

    • Kohlrabi should be stored at 32-35°F, with a relative humidity of 85-90%. 

    • Good-quality kohlrabi will be very firm, smooth-skinned, and heavy for its size.

    • Kohlrabi leaves are edible and can be used interchangeably with collard greens and kale.

      Kohlabi and sweet potato fries recipe -->



  • Produce Facts: Tomatoes

    Jul 13, 2016

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    There are at least 10,000 varieties of tomatoes. Among the largest varieties are beefsteak and beef master tomatoes. Roma tomatoes are medium in size, and cherry and grape tomatoes are small.

    Tomatoes used for processing are harvested ripe and red, but fresh market tomatoes are picked green.

    Florida and California accounted for 70% of the U.S. fresh tomato production. California accounted for 95% of processed tomato production. China is the largest producer of tomatoes in the world, producing over 16% of all tomatoes. 
    In terms of consumption, the tomato is the United States' fourth most popular fresh-market vegetable behind potatoes, lettuce, and onions. 

    Important Facts

    • Ripe tomatoes should be stored at 55-60°F with a relative humidity of 85-95%.
    • Tomatoes can be ripened at 58-68°F, out of direct sunlight. Because they produce ethylene gas, ripening can be accelerated by stacking boxes together on a pallet.
    • Do not refrigerate.



  • Produce Facts: Watermelon Radish

    Jul 07, 2016

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    watermelon radish

    The watermelon radish, also known as a rose heart, Asian red meat daikon, or a beauty heart radish, is an heirloom Chinese daikon radish. It is a member of the Brassica (mustard) family along with arugula, broccoli and turnips.

    The watermelon radish is a delightful Chinese cultivar (a cultivar is a strain of a plant that has been developed through cultivation) which mirrors in color a full-size seedless watermelon when cut open.

    The flesh is tender, crisp, succulent and firm. Its flavor is mild, only slightly peppery with some sweet notes. Depending on when harvested, watermelon radishes can range in size from a golf ball to a softball.

    Watermelon radishes are most commonly available during spring and late fall (peak), preferring soil temperatures below 68°F. Overly warm soil temperatures affect the radish’s flavor, turning a mild pepper flavor into a bitter sting.

    Important Facts

    • Watermelon radishes should be stored at 32-35°F with a relative humidity of 85-90%. 

    • Look for watermelon radishes with smooth skin free of deep cracks and for an exceptionally pink interior, look for radishes with pink taproots.

    • Select cherries with plump, glossy skins and green stems. 

    • Avoid product that is soft, spongy, blemished with brown spots, cut or lightweight for its size.
  • Produce Facts: Cherries

    Jun 29, 2016

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    cherries fresh produce

    Cherries belong to the stone fruit family along with apricots, peaches, nectarines, plums and loquats. The peak season for cherries in the United States is from May to August, and in the U.S. most sweet cherries are grown in Washington, California, Oregon, Wisconsin and Michigan.

    Scientific studies show cherries have anti-inflammatory properties and may offer potential health benefits against gout, arthritis, fibromyalgia (painful muscle condition) and sports injuries. 

    Cherry trees have beautiful small white or pink flowers that bloom around September. White flowers generally occur on commercial cherry trees, while pink flowered trees bear no fruit and are used as ornamental trees. Cherry trees will begin producing marketable crops after six to eight years and continue producing edible fruit for up to 100 years.

    Due to cultivation for many centuries, the origin of various varieties is often impossible to trace, but the sweet cherry and the sour cherry are said to be of ancient origin. The word cherry originates from the Turkish town of Cerasus. 

    Important Facts

    • Cherries should be stored at 32°F with a relative humidity of 90-95%. 

    • Keep cherries unwashed and stems attached in either a paper bag, a loosely-covered container or a loosely closed plastic bag in the refrigerator.

    • Select cherries with plump, glossy skins and green stems. 

    • Color depends on the variety.

    • Avoid soft, dull or bruised fruit. 

    • Small hard cherries lack flavor and juice.

    • Cherries don’t ripen after harvest.
  • July is Melon Month

    Jun 27, 2016
    How sweet it is! The heatwave hitting our growing regions is actually great for producing sugars in our melons.  In fact, the fruit is so sweet right now, Amerifresh Produce Specialist Sean Coenen can't help himself and grabs a second piece of melon during this segment. 

    One taste and you will see why July is melon month. 
  • Produce Facts: Plums

    Jun 22, 2016

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    The plum is a drupe (a pitted fruit) related to the nectarine, peach and apricot, and its flavors vary from extremely sweet to quite tart.

    Plums come in a range of shapes, sizes and skin colors. A mature plum may have a dusty-white coating, which is an epicuticular wax coating and is known as "wax bloom."

    China is the largest plum producer, but plum trees are grown on every continent except Antarctica. Most plum varieties which dominate the commercial supply of plums are either Japanese or European varieties. European varieties all have yellow to green/amber flesh and purple or blue skin. Japanese plums come in a wide range of colors from gold to blood red, but never blue/purple skin color.

    Some plum varieties are specifically bred so that they can be dried and still retain their sweetness, and these are used for prunes.

    Plums and prunes are known for their laxative effect.

    Source: 20 June 2016.

     Important Facts

    • Plums should be stored at 31-32°F with a relative humidity of 90%. 

    • If plums arrive unripened, store at 65-70 F with 95% humidity.
    • If plums arrive unripened, store at room temperature to ripen.
    • If ripe, refrigerate immediately. Ripe plums should be used quickly, their shelf life is short.
    • Handle carefully, plums bruise easily. 
  • Recipe: Honeydew Melon and Cucumber Gazpacho

    Jun 17, 2016


    Serves 4

    ½ a honeydew melon, roughly chopped
    2 medium-sized cucumbers (seeded, skin left on), roughly chopped
    1 Anaheim pepper
    6 mint leaves (plus extra for garnish)
    1small yellow onion, finely chopped
    ¾ lb kohlrabi, ¼ lb julienned, the rest diced
    1clove of garlic, finely chopped
    ½ cup blanched, slivered almonds
    ¼ cup champagne vinegar
    1 Tbsp. sesame oil
    3 Tbsp. lime juice
    Chilled water
    1 lb crab legs, or meat


    Add sesame oil to a small pan and sauté the almonds until golden brown. Let cool. Add the chopped honeydew melon, cucumbers, pepper, diced kohlrabi, mint leaves, onion, garlic, 2 Tbsp. lime juice and almonds (reserve some for garnish) in a blender and pulverize until smooth. Thin it out with chilled water to suit your consistency. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight. Divide into serving bowls and garnish with cucumber slices, julienne kohlrabi, crab and mint tossed in 1 Tbsp. lime juice. Serve chilled.
  • Recipe: Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho

    Jun 17, 2016


    Serves 4-6

    1 yellow onion, cut into 3/8-inch dice
    3 lb. heirloom tomatoes, cored and cut into 3/8-inch dice
    1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into 3/8-inch dice
    1 large red bell pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
    1 large Anaheim pepper, seeded and seeded and roughly chopped
    1 Tbsp. plus 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more, to taste
    4 Tbsp. olive oil
    2 tsp. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
    1 Tbsp. Pimenton Dulce
    2 garlic cloves
    2 Tbsp. sherry vinegar
    ½ cup blanched slivered almonds
    1 cup ice
    2 cups Veggie Power blend
    1 tsp lemon juice


    In a small bowl, stir together 1/2 cup of the onion, the Veggie Power blend, the 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. of the lemon juice, 1 Tbsp. of the olive oil, the parsley and pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve. 

    In a food processor, combine the remaining onion with the remaining 1 Tbsp. salt, the garlic, vinegar, ice and almonds. Puree until the mixture is smooth, about 2 minutes, stopping the processor to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the remaining tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers. Puree until the mixture is completely smooth, 2 to 4 minutes. Season with pimentón. Transfer the soup to a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 1 day. 
    Just before serving, transfer the soup to the food processor. With the motor running, slowly stream in the remaining 3 Tbsp. olive oil and puree for 1 minute. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and pimentón. 
    Ladle the gazpacho into tumblers or bowls. Garnish each portion with veggie Power Blend mixture. 
  • Recipe: Watermelon and Peach Gazpacho

    Jun 17, 2016
    Watermelon and peach gazpacho


    Serves: 6

    The base:
    2 cups coarsely chopped ripe tomatoes
    2 cups coarsely chopped pitted watermelon
    1/2 medium red bell pepper
    2/3 large cucumber, peeled and cut into chunks
    2 scallions, green parts only, cut into several pieces
    Handful of cilantro or parsley sprigs

    To finish the soup:
    1/3 large cucumber, peeled and finely diced
    1 cup halved cherry or grape tomatoes (red and/or yellow)
    2 cups finely diced pitted watermelon
    2 medium ripe peaches or nectarines
    Juice of 1/2 to 1 lemon or lime, to taste
    1 small fresh hot chili (serrano, jalapeño, or the like), seeded and minced, or dried hot red pepper flake to taste
    Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
    Fresh thyme sprigs or other fresh herb for garnish, optional


    Place the first six (base) ingredients in a food processor. Puree until fairly smooth.
    Transfer the puree to a serving container. Add the remaining ingredients and stir together. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. Garnish each serving with thyme or other fresh herbs, if desired.
  • The Difference between Nectarines and Peaches

    Jun 16, 2016

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    Nectarines are often used in the same way as peaches and are often considered as substitutes for peaches. The main difference between a nectarine and a peach is the outer surface of the fruit; nectarines have red, smooth skin and peaches have fuzzy skin.

    Nectarines also tend to be smaller, firmer and more aromatic than peaches.

    The word
    nectarine means "sweet as nectar."

  • Nectarines can be classified into free-stone or clinging varieties depending upon whether the seed is free or firmly attached to the surrounding flesh.
  • Interestingly, peach seeds may occasionally grow into trees that bear nectarines, and nectarine seeds may grow into trees that bear either nectarines or peaches.
  • Nectarine branches are grafted onto peach trees to guarantee a crop of nectarines.
  • Nectarines require a very cold winter season followed by warm weather for proper development of buds. White or pinkish-white flowers appear in early spring which develop subsequently into attractive fruits by June.
  • California grows over 95% of the nectarines produced in the United States. 
  • Nectarines are a good source of Vitamin C and fiber. 


    Important Facts

    • Nectarines should be stored at 31-32°F with a relative humidity of 90%.
    • If nectarines arrive unripened, store at store at 65-70°F with 95% humidity.

    • If ripe, refrigerate immediately. Ripe nectarines should be used quickly, their shelf life is short.

    • Handle carefully, nectarines bruise easily.
  • Snoboy Now Seen on More Canadian Highways

    Jun 14, 2016
    Gambles delivers Snoboy in CanadaA lot more people are seeing Snoboy these days as he travels around Canadian highways emblazoned on the trailers of Gambles Ontario Produce located in Toronto. 

    Gambles has distributed Snoboy produce since 1989, when it acquired the Canadian produce operations from Food Services of America

    Michael "Jake" Jacobs, Amerifresh Vice President of Supply Chain, says the trailers act as rolling billboards for select brands that Gambles sells in their marketplace.   

    "It’s exciting to be considered one of the core vendors of Gambles and also to know that Gambles feels that it is important to get the Snoboy brand more recognition in their marketplace which includes Toronto and Montreal," he says.

    At more than 90 years old, Snoboy is an icon symbolizing the best fresh produce available. To see Snoboy's proud history, go here.


  • Pluot: Plum and Apricot Hybrid

    Jun 08, 2016

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    Pluots and apriums, both plum and apricot hybrids, are known for their sweetness and flavor; the sugar content of these fruits is much higher than that of a plum or apricot alone.

    Pluots are approximately 25% apricot and 75% plum, but they demonstrate more plum than apricot characteristics; the fruit has smooth skin closely resembling that of a plum. Apriums are complex apricot-plum hybrids that show more apricot traits and flavor.

    Pluot season is early to mid-summer, but they’re often available through October. Pluots can have whimsical names like Dapple Dandy, Dinosaur Egg, and Flavor Grenade.

    A pluot has 80 calories, 19 grams of carbohydrate, 3 grams of fiber, 1 gram of protein, no fat, 225 milligrams potassium and 10% daily value of vitamin C. 

    The first pluot was sold in 1989. 


    Important Facts

    • Pluots should be stored at 31-32°F with a relative humidity of 90%.
    • If pluots arrive unripened, store at room temperature to ripen.

    • If ripe, refrigerate immediately. Ripe pluots should be used quickly, their shelf life is short.

    • Handle carefully, pluots bruise easily.
  • Pattypan Squash

    Jun 02, 2016

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    pattypan squashPattypan squash, also known as scallop squash, is a variety of summer squashes originating from Mexico.  This small variety of squash offers a creamy and mildly nutty flavor. 

    • Pattypan squash comes in yellow (known as sunburst), green and white varieties.
    • The squash is most tender when relatively immature; it is generally served when it is no more than two to three inches in diameter.
    • After about 35-45 days of plantation, yellow flowers appears which soon develop into attractive, flattened, disc-like fruit pods with a scallop shell with undulating edges.
    • It is often sliced, coated and fried until golden brown, or simply boiled. In Polish cuisine, the squash are pickled in sweet vinegar. 

    Important Facts

    • Pattypan squash should be stored at 45-50°F with a relative humidity of 90-95%.
    • Avoid product that is soft, wrinkled, blemished or dull in appearance.
    • Sunburst squash should be firm, smooth-skinned and small in size. The skin will be shiny and yellow in color.
    • Wash in cold water to remove any surface sand. Trim the stem end. Tender pattypan can be used with intact skin.
    • Cut the fruit into small cubes, or wedges as you may desire to use them in cooking. 
  • Mushrooms are rich in Umami, the Fifth Taste

    May 26, 2016

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    assorted mushroomsMushrooms are commercially produced in virtually every state. Pennsylvania, however, still accounts for over 55% of the total U.S. production.

    Mushrooms are rich in umami, the fifth taste, which is described as a savory, meaty taste sensation.

    Edible mushrooms are consumed for their nutritional value, and they are occasionally consumed for their supposed medicinal value.

    One portabella mushroom has more potassium than a banana. White and crimini mushrooms are also good sources of potassium. Potassium helps the human body maintain normal heart rhythm, fluid balance, and muscle/nerve function.

    Popular mushroom varieties.

    Important Facts

    • Mushrooms should be stored at 32-35°F with a relative humidity of 85-90%.
    • Put mushrooms in cooler immediately upon receiving.
    • Do not rinse or sprinkle with water before storing, make sure to keep them dry. Store mushrooms in a brown paper bag to absorb excess moisture.
    • Before serving mushrooms, wash, rinse, and drain thoroughly or pat to dry.
  • Collard Greens

    May 18, 2016

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    collard greensCollard greens are cruciferous vegetables that are cultivated for their thick, slightly bitter, edible leaves. They are available year-round, but are tastier and more nutritious in the cold months, after the first frost.

    Collard greens are a staple vegetable in southern U.S. cuisine and were even designated as the official vegetable of South Carolina in 2011. Collards are the oldest known greens in the cabbage family dating back to ancient times. Ancient Greeks and Romans cultivated collard greens.

    The name "collard" originates from the word "colewort," which is a synonym for the wild cabbage.

    Farmers plant collard greens early in the spring and during the summer. Harvest takes place six to eight weeks after sowing.

    Important Facts

    • Collard greens should be stored at 32-34°F.
    • Avoid greens with leaves that are wilted, yellowing or have dark green patches of slime on parts of the leaves.
    • Late winter and early spring provide the sweetest and most tender collard greens.
    • Collard greens are a headless form of cabbage, similar to kale. Their leaves are broad, paddle-shaped, and grey green to deep green in color with contrasting succulent white ribs and veins. 
  • Fresh Ramps (Leeks)

    May 11, 2016

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    ramps - wild leeksThe fresh ramp, or wild leek as it is known in the northern US, is a vegetable with a bold, spicy flavor similar to a flavor combination of onions and garlic.  

    The bundle of leaf sheaths formed is sometimes erroneously called a stem or stalk. The entire plant is edible and the leaves, especially when young, are delicious when sauteed. Ramps make a bold flavor statement any way you use them.

    Ramps have a reputation for being powerful healers, and it turns out the claim is well-deserved. They are high in Vitamins C and A, and are full of healthy minerals and have the same cholesterol-reducing compounds found in garlic.

    Ramps appear at the start of the season in late March as far south as Alabama. The season finally ends in mid-June in the far north all the way up to Canada. They can readily be found in most parts of Europe and Northern Asia as well. They are often found in the same sandy, hilly locations where you would find morels.

    Important Facts

    • Ramps should be stored at 32-36°F.
    • Good ramps or wild leeks should have two or three whole bright green leaves with the small white bulb attached by a purplish stem.
    • The leaves are generally about six inches long, although ramps tend to be harvested at a somewhat earlier stage than are wild leeks. Depending on where you get them, ramps or wild leeks may be either still muddy from the field or all cleaned and trimmed.
    • Yellowing or withering in the leaves is a sign that they have gone too long.
  • All the Colors of the Rainbow

    May 05, 2016

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    rainbow carrotsRainbow carrots appear in a variety of colors including orange, yellow, red, white, purple, black and purple haze (purple/red and white center). Each unique color gives carrots different pigments and health benefits.

    The color of yellow, orange and red carrots is the result of certain carotenoid pigments present in the root. These carotenoids can be divided into hydrocarbon pigments or carotenes and oxygenated pigments or xanthophylls.

    Xanthophylls, similar to beta-carotene, give yellow carrots their golden colors. They are linked to eye health and may reduce the incidence of lung and other cancers.

    Lycopene, found in red carrots, is a type of carotene also found in tomatoes. It is believed to help prevent heart disease and, in conjunction with other phytochemicals, reduce the risk of certain cancers, including prostate cancer.

    Anthocyanins are pigments found in purple carrots. In the human body these pigments act as powerful antioxidants, immobilizing harmful free radicals. More on anthocyanins here.

    The orange carrot is a relative newcomer on the scene. Carrots were originally either purple or white, but selection and hybridization in the 16th century brought us the vitamin-packed orange carrot we know today.

    Important Facts

    • Carrots should be stored at 32-36°F with a relative humidity of 90-98%.
    • Carrots do not produce ethylene gas, but they do need to be kept away from ethylene-producing fruits and ripening rooms.
    • Carrots stay crisp longer when stored in a plastic bag.
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