The produce section is often the first one we see when we arrive at a grocery store. It’s busy, full of carts and kids, and there are round fruits rolling all over the place—so stress levels can get a bit high. Let’s dive into a few of the most essential ways to maintain harmony among the veggies.

Produce Section Etiquette

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You can squeeze the produce, but not too hard

This is produce etiquette 101. It’s okay to give certain items a light squeeze, but you certainly don’t need to leave a thumbprint on anything. Avocados are a great example. It’s helpful to know how ripe they are before you buy, which can be sussed out with a gentle caress. Anything firmer and you risk bruising.

Don’t touch every item

It’s okay to dig a little to find the right size broccoli tree or a fresh bunch of parsley, but it’s not cool to rearrange every single item to find the most perfect specimen the world has ever known. Have a quick look, make a selection and move on.

Don’t create a shopping cart traffic jam

The produce aisles tend to be tight, with a lot of turns required. Plus, those sections get re-stocked often, so there’s often grocery store staff with piles of plums or peaches occupying lanes. Instead of keeping your cart with you, consider parking it someplace out of the way, and picking up three or four items, loading them in your cart, then heading back out for more. I’d bet it’s a faster way to shop, and you’ll be keeping space open for more people to collect their veggies and fruits.

If you drop your lemons, pick them up

This goes for any fruit that tends to roll around easily. Apples, limes, heck, even sweet potatoes. If you pick one out of a pyramid, and the whole thing collapses like a house of cards, you are honor- and etiquette-bound to pick up the ones that roll onto the floor.

Don’t pick off one banana and leave it behind every single time

We’ve all been there: You only want five bananas, but all you can find are bunches of four or six. So you take a six-pack, pluck one off and leave it behind. Sometimes you don’t have a choice, but every once in a while you might consider taking a bunch of four, and grabbing one from the singles pile. You might be reducing food waste, since the singles tend to ripen faster, and are more likely to be disposed of. Personally I love the singles for that exact reason: They ripen faster, so you can get a mix of singles at various stage of ripeness and enjoy perfect bananas all week long.

Skip the bags

Do you need to bag every item? No. A head of lettuce is probably just going to get placed in a crisper when you get home, so why bag it at all? Let it roam free. That goes for almost anything that doesn’t come pre-bagged. Apples, carrots, celery, heck, even sweet potatoes.

Don’t get yams confused with sweet potatoes

Okay, this isn’t really an etiquette thing, and it’s not a big deal, but I mention it because it’s funny and universal. I refer to yams as sweet potatoes nearly every day. They’re both delicious though, so who cares? Relax.

What are your top tips for etiquette in the produce section? Let us know in the comments below!

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