Some minds unchanged on broccoli

March 16, 1992|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,Staff Writer

You'll find potatoes, cabbage or collard greens on Reginald Roseborough's dinner plate.

But you won't find broccoli.

Mr. Roseborough, a produce clerk at the Stop Shop & Save grocery store in Northwood Plaza, doesn't care if Johns Hopkins researchers believe they have found a potent, cancer-fighting chemical in broccoli and other related vegetables. He's not changing his eating habits.

You can steam broccoli with butter, melt cheese over its greenish buds or serve the cruciferous vegetable with dip, but Mr. Roseborough isn't biting.

"I can't stand broccoli," Mr. Roseborough said. "They could tell you broccoli will make you live to 200, but if you don't like it, you're not going to eat it."

Put Mr. Roseborough in the anti-broccoli Bush camp. (Remember the president saying: "I do not like broccoli and I haven't liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it and I'm president of the United States and I'm not going to eat any more broccoli.")

Yesterday, as Mr. Roseborough stocked a bin in the produce aisle with bunches of broccoli, some of his customers were of a different mind-set.

"I heard about broccoli on the news," said Cary Beth Cryor, dropping a bunch of the vegetable in her grocery cart. "So, I'm going to get some. I hope the findings are real. But I guess eating it can't hurt me."

One of the reasons Thelma, a Howard Street antique dealer who declined to give her last name, picked up broccoli at the grocery store was The Sun's front-page article on the researchers' preliminary findings.

"It might not be true, but you can't lose by eating it," she said.

Frank Heubeck, warehouse manager for the Maryland Wholesale Produce Market at Jessup, which supplies fruits and vegetables to area grocery stores, welcomed the news.

"Isn't that great?" he said. "It's great to hear after all the negative publicity about the president not eating broccoli. How about that."

Odonna Mathews, vice president of consumer affairs for Giant Food Inc., said the research on broccoli was good news for consumers. Working with the National Cancer Institute, Giant has encouraged customers to eat fruits and vegetables daily through its strive-for-five (fruits and vegetables) and eat-for-health programs, she said.

Charles Giordano, a produce clerk at the Mars supermarket on Padonia Road in Cockeysville, was glad to hear of the vegetable's possible cancer-fighting features.

"It's about time we've gotten a positive article about fruits and vegetables," said Mr. Giordano, recalling articles raising concerns about wax and pesticides on fruit.

Carol Tregunna, a produce clerk at Farm Fresh IGA in Baltimore, had a more personal reason for including broccoli in her diet: Her grandfather died of leukemia, and her sister has recovered from a bout with cancer.

"Anything I can do to prevent cancer, I do," the 33-year-old said.

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