Welcome to Missouri, where young, green fruit goes to die.
Being a social creature and dedicated feeder, I’ve learned a lot about what my friends like and don’t like, and I’m shocked to discover that most of them don’t eat or like fruit.
Whaaaat? How can you dislike little nuggets of bliss?!
Oh wait. On second thought, since I moved to the U.S. I don’t particularly eat a lot of fruit either. Thinking back on it, I realize it’s because every trip to the grocery store ends in regulation disappointment. The fruit doesn’t taste like anything but fiber and despair.
It’s not a wonder-of-childhood thing. On a recent trip to Greece we bought some pears and oranges that tasted even more wonderful than they did when I was child, prancing around people’s unkempt properties and stealing fruit off their forgotten trees.
I don’t live in a particularly enlightened area, admittedly, so we don’t have those nice, snooty, all-organic stores. The closest one is over half an hour away (without traffic). I grant that this problem might also be more pronounced in the Midwest than elsewhere.
When I buy fruit it’s quite expensive by comparison to other countries.
I get it, though. I get why my friends may not like fruit- when have they ever had fruit that’s had a chance to ripen before it’s ripped off its bush or tree? Apples being one of the few exceptions, everything else from the grocer’s, organic or no, comes home under-ripe and sits in the fruit bowl under strict instructions to fulfill its potential, yet all it manages to do is mold, rot, and die exactly as “green” as it arrived. What a shit life.
I’ve read all I can about picking riper produce- and there’s certainly an art to it. Despite attempts to pick more carefully, the results are disappointing. So what’s happening? Well, looking at the labels I see that most of it is imported from outside of the country- and what isn’t is shipped from out of state. I believe the long journey fruit must take from Chile, Peru, Washington State, or Mexico is probably to blame. You can’t pick ripe produce in Peru this week and expect it to last all the way to a county in Missouri in edible condition. So, maybe you cut it from its mother prematurely and it is irrevocably stunted in its development. I guess that’s what I believe: fruit does not develop its actual flavour unless it stays on the damned tree until it’s fully ripe. Therefore, the stuff in the produce aisle at the grocer’s just isn’t going to taste like much of anything. It’s junk.
I did my best to understand the seasons for each fruit, and turn that time table upside down for imports, and I even tried to buy it from the rarely present “homegrown” and “local” sections of the supermarket, with only slightly better results.
The fruit situation:
- Giant tomatoes which are still mostly white inside,
- Pears that go directly from hard to flavourless mush,
- Grapes that taste sour from green to brown,
- Oranges and clementines that taste like the emptiness of poor life choices,
- Coconuts that are full of sloshy juices, and whose “eyes” have been cleaned, but once opened reveal a charmless layer of mold between the shell and the skin, and a flesh so devoid of life that it incites an existential crisis in your soul.
- Cherries, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries are probably the most crushing disasters of them all- going from bitter or tart directly to moldy.
When that’s the fruit you can get, yeah, I’ll take the damned candy bar to calm my sweet craving. And pass the cheesecake.