Those of us in California are somewhat in debt to nitrogen for all of the vegetables that come packaged in nitrogen during the year, out of season and from long distances. Those of you in other states are particularly in-debt to nitrogen for all of the fresh greens, lettuces, artichokes, beans, peas and arugula. Those are all brought to us because of the inert nature of nitrogen gas that is used to replace the rapid decaying effects of oxygen in our atmosphere.
I am able to get fresh corn, much fresh fish and many other global products thanks to nitrogen in our packaging.
You may not be aware that most of this nitrogen packaging of fresh leaves and vegetables began successfully in the 1980s. I met the man who was responsible for bringing us the myriad packages of fresh greens on our shelves. He was working with the farms in Monterey County California.
Everyone understood the need to replace air with nitrogen in fresh storage systems. The problem was to find an inexpensive and effective plastic wrap.
Because nitrogen is a molecule that comes in pairs and is lighter than most of the oxygen in our environment it was escaping from most plastic containers. This gentleman, whose name I cannot recall nor Google, found plastic wrap, empirically, that would contain nitrogen gas for long periods of time.
We owe him and nitrogen a great debt of gratitude.