Pamela Riemenschneider, Aisle Wandering
Pamela Riemenschneider, Aisle Wandering

What do you mean, there are no blueberries?

That was my reaction during an Aug. 8 shopping trip.

I needed a clamshell of blueberries for a photo for the September issue of Produce Retailer.

I also was hunting for a few props from housewares so I decided the Wal-Mart near my home in North Austin was a good choice.

But they had no blueberries.

I thought at first it was a Wal-Mart thing. The Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer doesn’t have as many stock-keeping units in produce as a traditional grocery store, so I thought I’d drop by the H.E. Butt down the road.

There were no blueberries at HEB, either.

I checked again on Aug. 11, thinking maybe it was a supplier glitch. I also struck out at Randalls, the local banner from Pleasanton, Calif.-based Safeway.

What’s going on here?

There goes my produce geek cred.

I’m smug about eating the best of what’s available because I’m all smart and know when things are in season and tasty.

Apparently, North Austin retailers have decided to declare August the Blueberry Doldrums. I saw some from Washington at Costco a week or two ago, and HEB had fruit from New Jersey not too long ago.

Somebody somewhere is eating fresh blueberries, but it’s not me.

This brings me to my point: Even a “produce insider” gets conditioned to believe everything is available all the time in all markets, with some exceptions such as cherries and pumpkins.

Cherry season, though, is lasting so long this year I’m starting to wonder.

Some good came out of this for me, however. I decided to go with peaches instead of blueberries for my photos because they looked so pretty at Wal-Mart.

And they were delicious, too.

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