Most fruit-vegetables reach the first stage of maturity before they have completed their growth. If harvested then, they are more tender than if allowed to grow to their maximum potential size. Because of changes that occur in cellular structure as the cell walls begin to thicken, the food toughens appreciably. At the same time, the woody cellular substance lignin, which cannot be softened by cooking, becomes more abundant. Fully mature fruit-vegetables have another undesirable quality which is more seeds.
Despite the superiority of young mature fruit-vegetables, supermarkets usually stock the fully grown ones. Profit is the motive. On a pound-per-pound basis, it costs less to grow the biggies because of labor savings. The fully grown specimens sell better, too, because most shoppers associate largeness with quality.