HARDY Produce for the Playa?

What do you eat and drink on the playa? Share ideas, recipes and advice here.

HARDY Produce for the Playa?

Postby FeetOfClay » Mon Jun 04, 2012 7:21 am

What fruits and veg hold up particularly with minimal maintainance?

My default world diet is composed of about 70% produce on an average day (i'm a vegan), so I'd like to keep my nutrients up on the playa...
Here is my (incomplete) packing list; not too much fresh produce on there :(

camelbak pack
refillable bottle
portable cup (doubles as bowl)
water jugs or “suitcases”
vacuum sealed rice
protein bars (all kinds)
nuts and dried fruits
vegan jerkies
juice boxes
flavored waters and drinks
portable almond/soy milks
dried ginger
salty pickles
crackers/chips
dried veggies
hardy produce (oranges, etc)
vitamins
protein powder
healthy oils
powdered hummus
oatmeal
cereal
ICE (Arctica)
cooler
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Re: HARDY Produce for the Playa?

Postby trilobyte » Mon Jun 04, 2012 7:27 am

So get some veggies. Reno shops will have vegetables, and you'll have a cooler that you'll ice up in Reno as well as restock with ice from Arctica. I'd recommend getting large sized ziplocs so you can organize and keep food dry (just say no to meltwater stew) and cover your bases. Stick to things that are easier to prepare, and make sure your meal plan gives you lots of protein and carbs (your body needs fuel), however way you get that with your diet.
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Re: HARDY Produce for the Playa?

Postby Drawingablank » Mon Jun 04, 2012 8:05 am

Last year our neighbor brought a bag full of yams and by Friday they looked like yam raisins so the cooler is key to keeping anything you don't want dehydrated.

Personally I just live out of cans and fruit packs supplemented by a box of cereal for the week, as I find too many distractions to actually cook and I don't have to worry about a stove when flying in. But then I have almost zero appetite o the playa. Not sure how much suitable vegan stuff is available canned though since I've never really given it any thought.
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Re: HARDY Produce for the Playa?

Postby CaffeineGirl » Mon Jun 04, 2012 8:08 am

I've had better luck with fruits/vegatables with keeping them in a box in a really shady spot rather than putting them into coolers with ice. Ones to try are bananas (get ones from sort of ripe to very green, so they ripen at different times), tomatoes, potatoes, onions, avocados, and peppers. They will probably not last all week, but should get you thru most of it.

Don't get carried away and bring big quantities. I have found I just do not much feel like preparing or eating as much produce on playa as I do at home, and you do not want to have to pack rotten produce home.

Avoid big fruits like melons, especially watermelons. They tend to turn into big rotten messes, and even if you use them early, the seeds and rinds are a mess. Can't tell you how many times people have tried to "gift" me their rotten cantelopes.

I have had bread stay fresh all week stored in a dry cooler in the shade without ice.
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Re: HARDY Produce for the Playa?

Postby Ugly Dougly » Mon Jun 04, 2012 9:54 am

I knew a vegan jerky once.
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Re: HARDY Produce for the Playa?

Postby FeetOfClay » Mon Jun 04, 2012 11:25 am

I knew a vegan jerky once.


I've heard there's quite a few of those floating around, giving the rest of us a bad name! ;)

sounds like small hard fruits are best, stored in the shade, not necessarily iced, but cool.

i am thinking: oranges, apples (no waste but the core), pears, carrots (no waste at all), celery (same), etc.

not to much volume of it, but a few nice pieces :)
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Re: HARDY Produce for the Playa?

Postby VultureChow » Mon Jun 04, 2012 11:41 am

I'm bringing asparagus and zucchini to grill. Trimmed, washed and thoroughly dried, I find asparagus holds up well, as does zucchini, though of course, both need to be chilled.
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Re: HARDY Produce for the Playa?

Postby Savannah » Mon Jun 04, 2012 11:48 am

I've never tried to keep fresh fruit, but I love fruit cups (the little clear ones, with chopped fruit stored in juice). They're delicious, especially straight from the cooler. I bring pears-in-juice every time.

Hmm . . . there are also those blister packs of fresh fruit stored in juice next to the stir-fry vegetables in big grocery stores. (Fresh pineapple, fresh melon, etc). I would make a go of those, were I inclined to 1) pack my cooler accessibly on the way in, & 2) buy the fruit last-minute.
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Re: HARDY Produce for the Playa?

Postby VultureChow » Mon Jun 04, 2012 11:53 am

FeetOfClay wrote: apples (no waste but the core)


True story. When I was 16 I did a backpacking tour of the pacific northwest with an organized group. Food and gear where equally shared amongst our packs, but snack food was your own, and that included apples. I found that I was able and happy to eat apple cores. (Think soft shell crab shells with an apple for the texture). Eventually the rest of the group learned to cut up their apples and give me the cores. I never carried an apple again and they never had to pack out a core.

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Re: HARDY Produce for the Playa?

Postby some seeing eye » Mon Jun 04, 2012 11:55 am

I almost completely loose my appetite on the playa, maybe you have a friends who have gone who have the same blood sugar/appetite response as you for a first hand experience.

It is also common to plan for or come across some epic meal on the way home consistent with your dietary preferences. And many of those places will be filled with dusty and fun people! If you announced a vegan meetup in Reno, you would get a following. That search is the kind of thing Yelp is good for.

Broccoli and cauliflower are good and if you are cooking, onions go well with them. One trick is to bring a mesh bag - like a 25-50# potato or onion bag the produce department at the grocery can save them for you - free. Put any moist produce or food waste in it to dry before packing the dried waste in a garbage bag. Less stink.

There might be some vegetarian and vegan threads, we did vegan for about 120+ people, but the softer produce does not last the week.
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Re: HARDY Produce for the Playa?

Postby Eric » Mon Jun 04, 2012 1:55 pm

I'm mostly vegan by default (vegetarian with a mild lactose allergy) and I never try to bring fresh produce out there - I even stay in an RV with a 'fridge & a microwave. I find dried fruit is great (love dried cherries out there, just don't eat too many at once...), and I bring a lot of the Trader Joes shelf-stable foods (Indian food, rice etc) as well as their soups. If you have a way to heat water there are Miso & French Onion soups that are fantastic in the evening (and the French Onion is actually vegan). I usually bring 2 or 3 frozen foods as treats (vegan pasta, coconut milk "ice cream"...), but I have access to a freezer.

Breakfast is usually power bars & canned coffee, unless I'm feeling like finding a coffee camp nearby.
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Re: HARDY Produce for the Playa?

Postby FeetOfClay » Mon Jun 04, 2012 8:29 pm

I bring a lot of the Trader Joes shelf-stable foods (Indian food, rice etc)


Yeah, i was actually thinking of doing the exact same!!! with their vacuum sealed brown rice, i can have nice rice everyday, and i will bring some dried coconut to sprinkle on with nuts for protein and such. fruit leathers, small containers of shelf-stable almond milk, etc.

oddly enough, i almost sense that being a vegan will HELP me fare on the playa: other than missing my usual cold-fruits and giant salads, i will actually be more used to simple meals of grains with oils and spices :)
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Re: HARDY Produce for the Playa?

Postby StevenGoodman » Tue Jun 05, 2012 11:54 am

Don't put veggies in a cooler with ice. The veggies will just get soggy I go bad quick. There is a reason people have been keeping veggies in root cellars for hundreds of years!

Potatoes, onions, shallots, carrots, etc, all hold up fine on the playa, If you keep them dry and out of the sun. Oranges, apples, even tomatoes. Bananas only last a few days (unfortunately).

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Re: HARDY Produce for the Playa?

Postby FIGJAM » Tue Jun 05, 2012 12:01 pm

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Re: HARDY Produce for the Playa?

Postby cpart » Wed Jun 20, 2012 8:30 pm

How about snap peas or snow peas?
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Re: HARDY Produce for the Playa?

Postby BBadger » Wed Jun 20, 2012 9:54 pm

While StevenGoodman is correct about vegis going soggy in ice, you can prevent that by putting them in zip-top bags. Some vegis, however, need to be in air (like mushrooms), so you put a screen rack above the ice/water layer in your cooler and they can stay dry as if they're in a crisper of your refrigerator. Carrots can be submerged under water with no problem; potatoes can be left in the shade outside.
Vegis like cucumbers can last a while if they're kept cool and sealed up, but only if you don't cut them until they're ready to serve (then you have a day or two before they're inedible). All the above worked fine for our fresh veggies that we served up on Thursday; and we continued to eat them afterwards as well.

Fruit... eat them while you can. Some nectarines we brought didn't last the full week (we ate all but one before then), but the apples lasted quite a while and I brought some home even. We left them under a towel in the shade, not in a cooler.
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Re: HARDY Produce for the Playa?

Postby DoctorIknow » Thu Jun 21, 2012 7:40 am

Except for the grand gesture of friends inviting me for vegan dinners once in a while, it is very simple for me.

Tasty Bite Bombay Potatoes and their Bengal Lentils are two of their vegan products that excel. Their rice things are musty tasting, and although I've tried many of the other numerous products, the two I mentioned are all I need. I get a 12 pac of each...check the 'net for coupons and sometimes they have free shipping...call them and ask. I believe Trader Joes puts their own brand name on some products of Tasty Bite, but not positive. DO check out any MRE's (meals ready to eat) as when you DO eat out there, it better be great/fast/full of calories. Pack up baggies of cooked brown rice or cook it out there.

Breakfast is always museli/granola mix with rice milk/almond milk and bananas (which last quite a while) and apples, which last weeks.

There is no official lunch or dinner, just heat up Tasty Bites. So many better things to do out there then cook or think of nutrition. Your body has plenty of nutrition already, or bring some vitamins/minerals: what you really need out there are calories and roughage that have taste you won't tire of.

Snacking is always dried fruit, rice cakes with almond butter and honey and tamari almonds I roast before going out there.

It's very simple, keeps me at full energy levels, and I haven't been constipated out there yet.

I always get three boxes of Orange Emergen-C (be careful, some others, like the Rasberry, taste terrible) and use it in my gallon a day of water.

Good luck. Nice suggestions here...
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Re: HARDY Produce for the Playa?

Postby Mojojita » Thu Jun 21, 2012 5:41 pm

Take lots of salsa in jars to eat with your chips. Love the salty goodness! Canned v-8 juice is great cold out of the cooler.
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Re: HARDY Produce for the Playa?

Postby inthecolumbiagorge » Fri Jun 22, 2012 3:10 pm

If you are doing the frozen gallon water jugs in a "freezer" cooler with dry ice and use the frozen water jugs in your vegie/fruit cooler your vegies stay edible as long as you can replenish the ice jugs when they thaw. We keep everything in zip lock bags with lettuce and herbs sensitive to plastic wrapped in slightly damp paper towels and then in zip lock bags. I suppose if you have enough dry ice and frozen gallon jugs you could keep some vegies and fruits cool and edible through the whole week. We did it in the Mohave in hot weather for 6 days with no issues. We had zucchini, green beans, asparagus, peppers, broccoli, carrots, cabbage, greens, radishes, cucumbers, basil and chives and nothing was ruined or wasted....well...except for maybe a couple of camp mates:-)
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Re: HARDY Produce for the Playa?

Postby Boijoy » Fri Jun 22, 2012 4:51 pm

produce in a can or jar is pretty hardy.
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Re: HARDY Produce for the Playa?

Postby Merc007 » Mon Jul 23, 2012 7:54 pm

I keep things like spinach, sliced cucumber, tomato and lots of other non-produce food stuffs in mason jars that I just toss in the cooler. They jingle around in the ice water, but nothing leaks or gets nasty.
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Re: HARDY Produce for the Playa?

Postby FeetOfClay » Mon Jul 23, 2012 8:31 pm

Breakfast is always museli/granola mix with rice milk/almond milk and bananas (which last quite a while) and apples, which last weeks.


the doctor's whole post makes me hungry. mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...
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Re: HARDY Produce for the Playa?

Postby vapor » Mon Jul 23, 2012 8:44 pm

I drink a lot of Vruit smoothies . . . Vruit is a great mix of fruit and vegetable juices. V8 makes a version, but it doesn't seem to have as much quality juice. Anyway, I take about a box a day each of Vruit and soy or almond milk. Mix 50/50 in a bottle, add some protein powder and shake. No blender, no refrigeration, usually finish both boxes within a few hours after waking up. I find the smoothies and a cliff bar or 2 take me through the day, Tasty Bites and grain an evening meal, then some form of nut mix or other snack towards dawn.
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Re: HARDY Produce for the Playa?

Postby happy truk » Mon Jul 23, 2012 10:59 pm

Hello FeetOfClay - fellow StepChild and Vegan here - one of my campmates sent me a link to this thread - thank you for the great ideas/information
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Re: HARDY Produce for the Playa?

Postby plantmandan » Tue Jul 31, 2012 10:09 am

If you bring some unripe avocados, they will be perfect to eat after about 48hrs on the playa.

Add some avos to your favorite salsa that comes in a plastic tub shaped container, and you'll have a killer guacamole in two minutes.
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Re: HARDY Produce for the Playa?

Postby MrBeardy » Tue Jul 31, 2012 12:04 pm

I'm sure it has been mentioned, but I always take a mesh like bag with me to the playa or camping in general, to put peels and such in. Hang it from something and by days end they are pretty dried out with little smell to linger around your camp for the rest of the week.
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Re: HARDY Produce for the Playa?

Postby danibel » Tue Jul 31, 2012 12:59 pm

MrBeardy wrote:I'm sure it has been mentioned, but I always take a mesh like bag with me to the playa or camping in general, to put peels and such in. Hang it from something and by days end they are pretty dried out with little smell to linger around your camp for the rest of the week.



And, if you have room you can bring a 5 gallon bucket with a super tight lid to use as a compost catcher. I bring one for my camp and my only rule is - no paper plates. I know they break down, but are easier to burn, and the bucket would fill up too fast if allowed. I was kind of surprised to see the guideline of no whole watermelons. I know the reason, but that is the best way to keep them until eating because they last a lot longer uncut.

If you are making veggie tacos or just looking for a yummy green salad you could make the "cabbage" salad I posted on this thread: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=33105&start=6240#p860156

The canned jalapenos are optional.
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