Friday, June 23, 2006

June 23, 2006: Fruit Snob

I am a fruit snob. I am reminded of that frequently, especially on mornings like this when I am face-to-face with putrid fruit. Duncan wanted oatmeal and peaches for breakfast. What he got was oatmeal and a few tasteless, mushy pinkish chunks of something labeled "California White Flesh Peach" on his oatmeal. What is really sad is that he didn't even complain! He is used to tasteless fruit, except when his Uncle John's peaches are ready in August.

It took me years to be able to buy fruit at the supermarket. I knew it was inferior. For the first 18 years of my life, I was privvy only to fresh fruit from the orchards. Even in the dead of winter we ate "fresh" fruit that had been picked in the summer and frozen for winter. Not those tasteless bags of Birds-eye, but the real stuff. Apples came from cold storage. Not my favorite fruit by February when the skins were wrinkled. I'd turn up my nose at a March cold-storage apple back then. Little did I know the tasteless things disguised as apples I'd face in my adult years!

This is what comes from the product of 7 generations of orchardists: a bona fide fruit snob. But I break down and buy mealy plums, anemic apricots, rotten peaches, and cardboard apples because my children beg me to--and because they must have fruit. Every now and then we get a good one, a fresh Georgia peach or a decent New Zealand apple. Sometimes we get good bags of Empire apples in the fall. I still refuse to buy those oh-so-deceptively luscious-looking Red Delicious. My kids don't even ask me. (My father has been known to approach people in supermarkets and advise them to choose the Gala over the insidious Red Delicious.)

So now, friends, you know yet something else about me: the sight of a California peach, picked green and shipped to Tennessee, makes me cringe. Washington Red Delicious should be banned. And by the way, pears are not ripe until the are yellow.

1 comment:

  1. When we lived in Oregon, we had wild blackberries all over the place. They were a nuisance in the flower gardens and shrubs, but we let them go crazy in other parts of the yard, because every August we were covered in gorgeous fruit.

    We'd go out every morning to pick and eat as many as we'd bring in the house. We'd eat more, and freeze some, and bake with them. We'd invite friends over to pick too. All summer long I was covered in scratches up to my elbows but I didn't care.

    Then we moved. I tried to buy blackberries. Oh no! They have to be picked before they're ripe in order to be transported. People are eating hard little sour knobs of fruit thinking that's a blackberry? Heartbreaking!

    We did find a farm to pick. But people were picking them too soon so there were few ripe ones. We did find a few, and when I went to pay - oh, new heartbreak. 4 pounds of blackberries is not very much! It cost me $16 to get a fraction of what I used to get for free. A fraction of the quality, too.

    So I haven't tasted a blackberry since 2007.


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