In the late 70's, I ran a reefer hauling vegetables from the West Coast
into the midwest. I've seen instances where the lettuce was picked and
wrapped in the field, vacuum cooled and shipped within a couple of
hours. The truck run would be about 36 - 72 hours, depending on
destination. Our arrival was usually timed for Sunday and Wednesday,
because most of the groceries restocked over those nights ready for the
Monday and Thursday sales days. So - I'd say 48 hours would be unusually
quick, coming from LA to Des Moines or Chicago.
I also hauled lots of tomatoes in January from Nogales, AZ into Chicago.
I'd say they were 1 - 2 days old when I got them, and it took me three
days to drive them up (running solo), and then another day or two to be
sold, so probably a week would be very good.
Grapes from Chile likely take even longer.
Freshness might be more important or saleable in some produce, like
lettuce, than in others, like bananas or oranges or apples which store
pretty well when done properly.
The grocer is going to keep some stock in the cooler, because if it's out
it gets picked over and loses it's freshness faster on the sale rack. If
you can deliver the right amount fresh every day, the grocer will likely be
happy to take that and use the cooler space for something else. That
might be quite a good sales tactic.
Jim - Farmer - Iowa City, IA,