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How Old Are My Aloe Leaves?

Aloe Vera Leaves at the Grocery Store

At Stockton Aloe #1, we agree that eating vegetables from the green market or out of the fresh produce section, in most cases is better than buying frozen vegetables. who could possibly disagree with that?

The problem with such a blanket statement, however, is that there are many exceptions. There are many things to consider before determining the best source of your vegetation. Some questions you might ask are:

  • Were they grown with chemicals including insecticides, herbicides, or fungicides?
  • Are they genetically modified?
  • Are they organic?
  • Is the farmer using sustainable farming practices to keep the soil rich?
  • Are the vegetables nutrient dense?
  • Were they grown locally
  • How far have they travelled before getting into the produce section?
  • When were they harvested?

As I write this, I think back a few years when I was working at the Pompano Beach Green Market. I asked the manager of the vegetable stand that was next to me what the difference was between the vegetables he was selling and those from the local grocery store. I must admit, his one word answer was shocking… and not what you think! I couldn’t believe what he said. But before I tell you, I have to share the preliminary results of a little aloe Vera research project I am working on.

My curiosity about this started a couple months back when I read an article about the benefits of aloe Vera on I appreciate Mike Adams and his unrestrained delivery of truth. I agree with most of what is published on his website. But what I couldn’t understand is why they were using a photo of aloe Vera that was certainly harvested from the plant at least a month earlier.

I then realized that it was obvious to me that the leaf was separated from the plant for a long time – because I know Aloe Vera. But to most people, that is what aloe looks like because that is how it looks when they see it at the grocery store in the produce section. But I considered the possibility that the leaf was dead for a much longer time than my rough estimate. After all, I had never actually done a study to determine the changes of aloe vera over time… until now.

An aloe Vera leaf harvested one month earlier

This first photo was taken on 08/05/2014 – the day I removed it from the plant. You can see that this aloe vera leaf has some minor damage close to where the leaf meets the stem. This is very common on aloe leaves so I decided to use it in my example.

Here is a photo of the same leaf that was taken on 09/04/2014. There are no new brown spots. The leaf is still quite thick – about 33 mm at the middle of the base. Can you see any differnces?

Usually when I see aloe leaves in the produce section, they are covered with brown spots like those in the photo on Natural News. I went to the grocery store across the street from me today midway through writing this article while armed with a cell phone camera just to prove my point. The feature photo for this page shows the aloe Vera leaves that I could have purchased… if I was in the mood for rotten leaves.
Similar to fruits and vegetables that haven’t been sprayed with ripening agents, brown spots don’t appear in just a few days. Furthermore, Aloe Vera is ready for consumption immediately upon being removed from the plant. Ripening agents are not used and certainly not needed for aloe Vera.

If you bought aloe leaves that are covered with little brown or black marks like those in the feature photo on the top of this article, I can assure you, those are not fresh leaves. What if you applied these same ideas to other vegetables? Suddenly, frozen vegetables don’t sound like that bad of an alternative.

Of course, growing your own vegetation is almost always superior, since, as the farmer, you can ensure the quality of your farming environment. Producing enough vegetation to meet all of your needs, however, usually lands even the best farmers in the produce area… or frozen food isles.

So what do we do at Stockton Aloe 1? At Stockton Aloe 1, we do “Fresh Frozen”.

What?… “Fresh Frozen”… is this some kind of a trick? It sounds like an oxymoron! What are you guys doing over there and how can you say it’s better with a straight face???

We harvest our aloe leaves, immediately filet them, grind them, run them through a “heat transfer” unit to take about 40 degrees F out of the gel in a few minutes, and put the cold gel into containers that are immediately put into the freezer. Stockton Aloe #1 gel is kept frozen until we ship it to you from our warehouse. We don’t pasteurize, we don’t filter, we don’t decolorize, we don’t deodorize, we don’t use processing agents such as diatomaceous earth and activated carbon, we don’t add preservatives. We do sell “Fresh Frozen 100% Pure Raw Aloe Vera Gel.

Remember that story about the guy at the green market that was revealing to me the truth about his vegetables? What do you suppose his answer was? Would you believe it was “perception”. “Hugh?” I said. He went on, “Yah, people are outdoors here so they think it’s better and will even pay more”. Is it organic? No. Well, is it more fresh… like was it just taken from the farm? He explained in detail that I could purchase the same quality and same age of vegetables from the grocery store and maybe even save money doing it.

I realize that not all farmers markets are the same. But if your green market is in the city and there aren’t a lot of farms around, there’s a good chance that the vegetables there aren’t actually what you perceive them to be.

Do you have any tips for acquiring fresh produce?