Omnivore - On picking better produce

In his most recent Grazing column, Cliff Bostock puzzles over why his expensive nectarines are often inedible, or why the lovely Fuji apples at Whole Foods end up being mushy and mealy.

If you, too, have experienced the disappointment of purchasing aesthetically pleasing produce only to be met by dismal taste, check out Russ Parsons' latest book, How to Pick a Peach: The Search for Flavor From Farm to Table. The Los Angeles Times food and wine columnist writes about how to choose the best ingredients for good cooking, specifically produce. Parsons documents how agribusiness has taken the priority of taste out of our food as he writes about the long-standing agricultural conundrum: how to grow fruits and vegetables that look good, taste good, and remain that way after the long, bumpy trip from a far-away farm to your supermarket.

Part cookbook and produce guide, Parsons gives instructions on how to store and prepare different produce items. He discusses food chemistry and the chemical makeup of flavors, also exploring organic farming and its effect on flavors.

Foodie or not, if you're tired of mouthfuls of mushy apples, tasteless melons, or just want to know why cucumbers make some people burp, this book is for you.

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