How many times have you gone to the fridge to grab a tomato, only to find a spot or two of mold? How many times have you gone shopping for lettuce, only to find wilting, unappetizing romaine, or soft squishy iceberg lettuce?
Retailers are now telling us that part of the problem with produce is that commercial traffic is largely first-come-first-served. When there is a holdup, trucks carrying refrigerated perishables must watch as truckloads of anything lumber, skidoos, furniture are loaded on first.
Any truck can get priority booking, but the company has to pay for it, and that cost is passed on to the consumer.
To Marine Atlantic’s credit, there are fewer holdups thanks to the investment in three new vessels. The increased capacity means fewer trucks are left waiting in North Sydney most of the time.
Nevertheless, it is still happening from time to time.
Queues are important. If you follow the golden rule, then you understand the importance of waiting your turn in any line, be it at the bank or to see the doctor. But we also make allowances to jump the queue when necessary. When you go in for elective surgery, you go with the understanding it may get bumped due to an emergency.
Getting fresh food to the island may not seem like life and death, but one can make the argument that it is over the long term. Newfoundland leads the country in ailments such as obesity and diabetes. Getting more and better fresh produce won’t solve that problem overnight, but it is going to play a role in the long term.
Making allowances to get our fresh veggies to the front of the line in North Sydney seems like a no-brainer. The notion that Marine Atlantic would have to revive the entire commercial reservation system to make this work seems to be a bit much. Just designate a lane or two at the terminal for trucks carrying fresh food and load those first.