HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
Brewing beer, curing meat, or making cheese? Share your food adventure

What Fruits and Vegetables would you love to get your hands on reliably?

Noctame Oct 16, 2013 09:26 AM

Eggplant & Bok Choy are two that I find expensive to track down locally (and if I do they look worse for wear!)

Is there any you'd love to see available/higher quality? Because I'd be willing to pay more for bok choy that didn't look like it was dropped on the grocery store floor and trampled. (I'm looking at you! You know which supermarket you are!)

  1. m
    mingvg Oct 16, 2013 11:32 AM

    Longsat and pulasan are impossible to source stateside; I've only came across it a handful of times (and I bought up everything each time I saw it hehe).

    sapodilla and strawberry papaya is a bit harder to source commercially, but available.

    1. pinehurst Oct 16, 2013 11:35 AM

      Good berries all year 'round.

      Good rappi all year 'round.

      Ditto avocados. It's the curse of living in the Northeast. Coises!

      8 Replies
      1. re: pinehurst
        macca Oct 16, 2013 11:38 AM

        Yup- and I would add tomatoes to that list- my local farmers market still had a few last week- but they will be gone soon- and I will probably not be able to find another tomato until next summer! I have been gorging on them since July!

        1. re: macca
          pinehurst Oct 16, 2013 04:56 PM

          Oh good lord, yes. When I think of the waxy tomatoes they'll lob at us in the winter....shudder...

          1. re: pinehurst
            treb Oct 16, 2013 04:57 PM

            totally tasteless!

            1. re: treb
              fldhkybnva Oct 16, 2013 05:16 PM

              It's hard to resist but yes tasteless

            2. re: pinehurst
              Isolda Oct 22, 2013 01:38 PM

              Yep, winter tomatoes in the northeast look like they need a transfusion. I skip 'em and only make things where I can used canned.

          2. re: pinehurst
            fldhkybnva Oct 16, 2013 01:19 PM

            I second the berries, I have to resist buying them in fall/winter when I know they are destined to be awful.

            1. re: pinehurst
              BuildingMyBento Oct 16, 2013 03:23 PM

              Regarding avocados, are you near any Mexican/Central American markets?

              Or, if you're in NYC, how about those vegetable vendors in Manhattan, and to a lesser extent Queens/Brooklyn? They may not be good stuff year-round, but they're present.

              1. re: BuildingMyBento
                pinehurst Oct 16, 2013 04:55 PM

                Yes, and no; I'm in Mass, and we have a huge Dominican population in my community, so Dominican (and other Caribbean) produce is more available now than in, say, 1990. Like people who lament the waxy tomatoes we get during the winter, the avocados are around, but they get pricey, kind of wooden, and pitifully small at certain times of the year. You're right, though...sometimes, any port in a storm.

            2. fldhkybnva Oct 16, 2013 01:18 PM

              I seem to see consistent-looking bok choy at Wegmans. If you have a local Asian grocery store around they probably also have a fresh, quickly-rotating stock

              1. RealMenJulienne Oct 16, 2013 01:31 PM

                Mine are mostly Asian vegetables:

                Water spinach (hollow heart)
                Sweet potato greens
                Taiwanese cabbage – more tender than the US version
                Taiwanese broccoli/cauliflower hybrid
                Pea shoots

                And weird varieties of red, green, brown, purple and yellow tomatoes.

                1. linguafood Oct 16, 2013 01:31 PM

                  Perfectly ripe:

                  champagne mangoes

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: linguafood
                    fldhkybnva Oct 16, 2013 01:37 PM

                    Count me in for tomatoes!

                    1. re: linguafood
                      NonnieMuss Oct 20, 2013 10:36 AM

                      Hellz yes to tomatoes. Good ripe red ones all the year round - right there in the grocery store. No extra 15 minute drive to the farmer's market, no more hard, white-ish, tasteless slices. I'd have to move states for this fantasy to come true.

                      And potatoes. The groceries around here carry exactly two kinds - brown and red. No variety.

                      1. re: NonnieMuss
                        LMAshton Oct 28, 2013 05:24 PM

                        In Sri Lanka, I only ever found brown. Onions, there were only ever one kind - red. I feel your pain.

                    2. Paprikaboy Oct 16, 2013 01:39 PM

                      Pears that say ready and ripe that actually are.
                      Strawberries that aren't Elsanta.
                      Big fat garlic.Not the withered stuff from China.
                      Amalfi lemons.
                      Wild garlic.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Paprikaboy
                        Harters Oct 19, 2013 02:14 PM

                        I think we share the same issues, PB

                        I yearn for strawberries that taste of strawberry - but every time I look for them, there's a growing amount of shelf space being given to Elsanta and the space for any others is in decline.

                        I'll add really fresh sweetcorn. And big fat mishapen red peppers that taste of red pepper - like you get in village markets in Spain.

                      2. viperlush Oct 16, 2013 02:01 PM

                        Peaches, strawberries, pears, and Artichokes. Would love consistent availability and quality.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: viperlush
                          fldhkybnva Oct 16, 2013 05:17 PM

                          Peaches and strawberries, even in season the good ones are hard to find

                        2. Nevy Oct 16, 2013 03:27 PM

                          Gai lan would be great. Most of the time it's ok but I'd love to have it crisp still and not blooming.

                          The other is fig... of any types. Black or green... doesn't matter. We usually get it only for a few weeks and they're at least close to a dollar a fig.

                          Lastly wild blueberry. These are so delicious but for $8 a tiny half quart at the farmers market, it's so expensive and half the time they're either over ripe and dehydrated or ready to be moldy.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Nevy
                            viperlush Oct 16, 2013 05:03 PM

                            Yes figs. When they are good they are very very good. But when they are bad they are a mealy mess. And always too expensive to risk buying.

                          2. t
                            treb Oct 16, 2013 04:52 PM

                            Eggplant (got them for .59 each), oranges, some type of berries, Broc Rabe, Persian cukes, cabbage.

                            1. Ttrockwood Oct 16, 2013 05:53 PM

                              I grew up in cali, in the center of all of the agriculture where everything in the grocery stores had been in the fields within 24hrs and was sold super cheap. I live in nyc so i can find almost anything, at a price. Sometimes a very very hefty price. I stopped wasting my money on strawberries. I miss the blackberries from my parents yard. Jicama that is in good shape is hard to find and tomatillos are a challenge

                              1. fldhkybnva Oct 17, 2013 01:20 PM

                                With my recent discovery of seasonal and imported asparagus, I wish I could get consistent asparagus. It's my favorite vegetable and I'd love to enjoy it all year round but have been so disappointed recently by woody, flavorless spears.

                                1. s
                                  StringerBell Oct 19, 2013 01:39 PM

                                  Black sapote, any annona (paw paws, soursop, cherimoya, sugar apple, custard apple, etc.) ramps, morel mushrooms, Asian persimmons, rambutan, saskatoonberries, hardy kiwi, lychee, green figs, acai, cloudberry, mangosteen, bilberries, oca, purple sweet potatoes, jaboticaba,

                                  Higher quality: tomatoes, peaches, corn, green onions, raspberries, blackberries, starfruit, dragon fruit, prickly pears.

                                  1. Will Owen Oct 20, 2013 02:08 PM

                                    Most of the items listed here so far are more or less readily available here in relentlessly sunny SoCal, especially near my place at the top end of the San Gabriel Valley, with its plethora of Asian and Latino markets. Things I could only dream of in Nashville … EXCEPT for the wonderful seasonal vegetables they either don't grow here or are available at some farmer's markets only. Poke sallet. Fresh field peas (crowders, ladies, purple-hull, brown-eyes, creamers). Kentucky Wonder green beans. Locally-grown Beefsteak and Better Boy tomatoes. And while we're at it, how about the dry-cured pork products we cook a lot of these things with? Sure, I can mail-order from Broadbent's (shameless plug), but that takes time and planning …

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Will Owen
                                      StringerBell Oct 20, 2013 04:52 PM

                                      You can come here and pick all the pokeweed you like! It grows all over my yard, I can't get rid of it...

                                    2. s
                                      Stardustgirl Oct 20, 2013 02:29 PM

                                      Another vote here for great berries year 'round.

                                      I also would love to find old-fashioned yellow sweet corn. Not white. Not bi-color. Plain old used-to-be-common, non-gmo, yellow sweet corn. I think I'll grow some next year if I can remember to make a cage for it to keep the raccoons out. Otherwise I'm just feeding the rodents. :P

                                      1. k
                                        kitchengardengal Oct 20, 2013 04:19 PM

                                        1. Rhubarb
                                        2. Asparagus (affordable)
                                        3. Sweet corn
                                        4. Ripe juicy pears
                                        5. Perfectly sweet melon
                                        6. Ditto on the peaches

                                        1. k
                                          Kontxesi Oct 21, 2013 03:54 AM

                                          Pluots. I almost died when I had my first one on a trip to Seattle. I ran into some in Phoenix, but they were a different variety and not as fantastic. I have yet to find them in Virginia.

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: Kontxesi
                                            StringerBell Oct 21, 2013 12:32 PM

                                            That's surprising, in Indiana and Michigan they sell pluots at every grocery store, usually at least a few different kinds.

                                            1. re: StringerBell
                                              Kontxesi Oct 22, 2013 03:15 AM

                                              Ugh. The only store I haven't checked is Whole Foods, as I am not in their targeted income bracket.... I suppose if they've got them, though, I can make an exception for just one fruit.

                                              The one I had in Seattle was labeled as a dinosaur egg pluot. It was ridiculously amazing. I got it at a little produce stand just outside of Pike Place Market.

                                              1. re: Kontxesi
                                                fldhkybnva Oct 22, 2013 03:20 AM

                                                Targeted income bracket? It's not all a fortune, browse, never know what you'll find.

                                                1. re: fldhkybnva
                                                  Kontxesi Oct 22, 2013 03:25 AM

                                                  Oh, I've been in there to look around once or twice over the past ten years. My problem is that I will find a lot of stuff that I want, and I either won't get it and feel deprived, or I will get it and blow my grocery budget all to hell.

                                                  Plus, honestly, it's not directly on my way home. When you're already out of the house from 5AM to 5PM without making any grocery stops, you're less inclined to go out of your way! :p

                                          2. t
                                            tastesgoodwhatisit Oct 22, 2013 12:26 AM

                                            I would love to be able to get hold of fresh artichokes, zucchini and fennel.

                                            1. j
                                              Just Visiting Oct 22, 2013 03:28 AM


                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: Just Visiting
                                                StringerBell Oct 27, 2013 04:48 PM

                                                I'm definitely with you on this one. I did find some at Meijer yesterday. They were $4 each, but I bought a couple anyway since they're hard to find.

                                              2. melpy Oct 22, 2013 03:38 AM

                                                I really want to find quenepas. I am in PA but willing to travel.

                                                1. BobB Oct 22, 2013 01:29 PM

                                                  Ambrosia apples. My absolute favorites, and rarely available.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: BobB
                                                    viperlush Oct 24, 2013 12:51 PM

                                                    I agree. We picked a bag full a couple weekends ago @ Cider Hill in Amesbury for $1.85/lb. Ate the last one today for lunch.

                                                  2. i
                                                    INDIANRIVERFL Oct 22, 2013 01:36 PM

                                                    Any heirloom seasonal. Local roadside asparagus in the spring is worth the wait.

                                                    1. holldoll Oct 22, 2013 01:36 PM

                                                      Chinese broccoli!

                                                      1. i
                                                        Isolda Oct 22, 2013 01:36 PM

                                                        Mutsu apples. Fuyu persimmons. Clementines.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: Isolda
                                                          Stardustgirl Oct 27, 2013 11:23 AM

                                                          I recently tasted a Mutsu apple for the first time and *loved* it. Honeycrisp is still my #1, but Mutsu bumped Ida Red out of the #2 slot.

                                                        2. 16crab Oct 22, 2013 02:47 PM

                                                          I'm from the south. Fried okra is my most favourite thing in the whole wide world. When I was a kid it was only available in the summer.
                                                          Then...I met a Canadian and headed north of the border. Imagine my glee when I realized I could get okra year round. I honestly felt like I won the lottery. It's generally from Mexico I think. There are certain neighbourhoods where I guess the ethnic makeup creates a demand for it and it's always available. Lucky for me many of those neighbourhoods are on my commute.

                                                          1. f
                                                            flavrmeistr Oct 24, 2013 11:09 AM

                                                            Citrus, avocado and mangoes. God, do I miss Florida!

                                                            1. Bada Bing Oct 24, 2013 12:35 PM

                                                              Neither fruit nor vegetable: but I would love to be able to buy fresh porcini mushrooms.

                                                              1. EWSflash Oct 24, 2013 07:43 PM

                                                                Nice young green beans. Good peaches and nectarines- and plums. Pea shoots, i love those things. High-quality escarole. Plums so I can make plum wine. Rhubarb, it's rarely offered here fresh, and it doesn't grow here. Oh- and high-quality sugar snap-type peas. I could use those things daily.

                                                                1. t
                                                                  Tovflu Oct 25, 2013 05:48 AM

                                                                  It's impossible, but in a perfect world I'd have fiddlehead ferns available all the time at a price that wouldn't require me to find a secondary source of income just to afford them. :)

                                                                  More realistically, I'd like good quality okra more readily available.

                                                                  1. mels Oct 25, 2013 06:15 AM

                                                                    The one vegetable I would love to see more of is kohlrabi. I can only find it at my local farmer's market in season. No grocery store carries it (not Whole Foods, not the big chains...no one) so I only have it a handful of times every year.

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: mels
                                                                      kitchengardengal Oct 27, 2013 06:05 AM

                                                                      In Northwest Indiana, most of the stores carried kohlrabi regularly. Here in Georgia, I have to grow it myself, or get it when the farmer's market has it.

                                                                      1. re: kitchengardengal
                                                                        StringerBell Oct 27, 2013 02:31 PM

                                                                        In Southwest Indiana it is very common as well. Same for Southeastern Michigan, where I currently live. Kohlrabi is very easy to find in these places, Kroger, Meijer, even Wal-Mart usually have it.

                                                                        1. re: StringerBell
                                                                          mels Oct 31, 2013 12:26 PM

                                                                          I am jealous, kitchengarden gal and StringerBell! I live in southern New England and kohlrabi is nonexistent except when in season at farm markets.

                                                                    2. coll Oct 25, 2013 06:17 AM

                                                                      Quince. Every fall I search all the ethnic stores, far and wide, for a half dozen to make jam. Sometimes I win, and sometimes I lose.

                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                      1. re: coll
                                                                        StringerBell Oct 27, 2013 02:32 PM

                                                                        I saw a bunch at Meijer here (Southwest Michigan) yesterday. I almost bought some.

                                                                        1. re: StringerBell
                                                                          coll Oct 27, 2013 03:34 PM

                                                                          Tomorrow I have a dentist appt a half hour away, and two ethnic stores that are nearby. I have high hopes.

                                                                        2. re: coll
                                                                          Sharuf Oct 30, 2013 09:45 AM

                                                                          Mom had access to a quince tree. She made the only two uses for quince that make sense to me - jelly and syrup. Quince makes a lovely colored and flavored clear transparent product and jellies and syrups are the only way to get that, that I know of.

                                                                          1. re: Sharuf
                                                                            coll Oct 30, 2013 11:17 AM

                                                                            I have a dozen now, but didn't get to them today. Tomorrow will be the day, while I'm waiting around for trick or treaters. I make mine with cinnamon and vanilla, plus some lime and passionfruit juice. I should get a decent batch this time around.

                                                                            1. re: Sharuf
                                                                              StringerBell Oct 30, 2013 03:45 PM

                                                                              Not sure if you eat pork since you have an Arabic-sounding name, but quince works well with pork IMO.

                                                                              1. re: StringerBell
                                                                                Sharuf Nov 1, 2013 12:28 PM

                                                                                "Sharuf" is a patched together pen name. I'm Nordic and pork is probably eaten more in my home than any other meat. Often in the form of sausage.

                                                                                How do you fix quince for your pork? Jelly is the only way I can think of that meets my beauty standards. Otherwise I would use applesauce or some other apple creation where looks are not important.

                                                                          2. tim irvine Oct 27, 2013 06:13 AM

                                                                            Small, tender artichokes
                                                                            Tomatoes at the height of perfection as remembered from the truck farms around Annapolis
                                                                            Real huckleberries, like you find on the lower slopes of Rainier in September

                                                                            1. k
                                                                              kseiverd Oct 27, 2013 06:16 AM

                                                                              TOMATOES!! Once little mom/pop stands are done, I rarely buy any tomatoes until they're REAL again. Sometimes the ones "on the vine" are decent, but still seems to be a crap shoot. Sometimes grape/cherry tomatoes at least have a nice flavor... but odds are only about 50:50 IMO. Supermarket tomatoes are picked green and gased to "ripen"... only changes color & no flavor or aroma.

                                                                              As for items like eggplant & bok choy... see if you have an Asian market in your area. I have a LITTLE one that I LOVE!! They always have bok choy and I'm thinking they sell a lot of it... never been remotely disappointed. They don't usually have "regular" eggplant, but always have the smaller/longer ones.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: kseiverd
                                                                                coll Oct 27, 2013 06:43 AM

                                                                                Best bet for out of season tomatoes are Campari brand.

                                                                              2. Keyscuisine Oct 27, 2013 06:07 PM

                                                                                Meyer lemons
                                                                                Blood oranges
                                                                                Raddichio that was fresh
                                                                                Endive that was fresh
                                                                                Swiss chard
                                                                                Kale other than curly
                                                                                Fresh rhubarb

                                                                                And how could I forget- heirloom tomatoes:)

                                                                                1. LotusRapper Oct 27, 2013 10:28 PM

                                                                                  Fruits I'd love to have year-round:

                                                                                  Italian plum

                                                                                  Show Hidden Posts