I learned my lesson. Stay out of that lady’s way.

What belongs in the produce department?

Pamela Riemenschneider
Aisle Wandering

I took a stroll through Lakeland, Fla.-based Publix Super Market’s Greenwise store in Tampa following the Southeast Produce Council’s Southern Exposure.

While moseying through the — in my opinion — small produce department, I was almost run over by someone who just had to get to the tofu cheese.

Tofu cheese? Really?

She snatched two bags of it and trotted over to the checkout.

I didn’t know people actually ate that stuff, much less clamored for it.

But that brings me to another subject — what belongs in a produce department?

This particular department had all kinds of stuff:

  • Tofu cheese and other tofu products;
  • two sections of cut fruit — one with clear deli-style in-house looking tubs and another of national brands that I’m not sure need refrigeration;
  • a nifty salad spinner bag that I really should to do a video of — it’s right up Billy Mays’ alley;
  • separated areas of bagged salad — one was mixed with house brands and regional players and the other was a national brand; and
  • a reefer case filled with all types of things I’m not entirely sure qualify as fresh produce.

One of those things was something called Buddy Fruit.

It appears to be drinkable baby food that bills itself as “Real fruit, real fun, real easy.”

They had several varieties. I picked up an apple cinnamon and something with apples, bananas and mango.

I tasted it and it was pretty good and reminded me of really smooth applesauce.

But is it fresh produce department worthy? Does tofu cheese belong in the produce department or the deli?

Does ultra high pressure guacamole fit in produce, in meat (which is where H.E. Butt Co. puts it — next to the fajitas, which most people I’ve talked to think is wacky), or with the dips?

I guess tofu cheese gets a spot in produce because a tofu cheese-eater probably isn’t looking for cheese where the rest of us cheeseheads buy it.

I’d like to know what you think. What belongs in the produce department and where will we build the “Island of Misfit Products” that don’t fit?

E-mail pamelar@thepacker.com.

What do you think fits in the produce department? Leave a comment and tell us your opinion.