I ate fruit all the way from Argentina this week. You probably did too, honestly. A lot of our fruit and produce comes from different countries. Apples are the only thing in the U.S. we can usually count on as coming from only a town or two away from us. So why does fruit come to us from so far away? Sometimes it’s just because the fruit can only be grown in a certain region and other times for no reason at all except somehow it’s cheaper (capitalist wise, not environment wise – the environmental cost can be incredibly high as we’ll find out this month).
I didn’t branch out a whole lot this week although I did try two new varieties of a fruit that I’ve had before. In doing my research on this month I have to say: U.S. produce is just not that interesting, fun, or delicious as other countries fruit selection.
“There are mangoes that taste like piña coladas. Orange cloudberries. White blueberries, Blue apricots. Red Lemons. Golden Raspberries. Pink cherimoyas. Willy Wonk’s got nothing on Mother Nature….There are thousand upon thousands of fruits that we never imagined – and that few of us will ever taste, unless we embark on fruit-hunting expeditions.The Fruit Hunters by Adam Leith Gollner
I didn’t have anything quite as delicious as mentioned above this week. On Monday I had Cantaloupe, one of my faves. This fruit isn’t quite in season yet, and I was running late into the office so I grabbed a precut plastic container of it (I hate myself for this so no need to rub it in). It was packaged in Portland but I’m not sure where this particular one was grown as it did not say. It tasted fine – but not as good as freshly cut and in season cantaloupe.
On Tuesday I had a Banana because there was some in the office and I hadn’t been to the store in a week. This particular banana was from Ecuador and it was good. Almost all bananas in the United States are eaten from Central and South America. I’m reading this really interesting book right now called Banana, and I’m learning some really awesome facts about this commonplace fruit. Americans eat more bananas per year than apples and oranges combined; and in many parts of the world, bananas are what keep hundreds of millions of people alive. What’s interesting about the banana is how it’s evolved. The banana we eat today is of the Cavendish variety. The banana our grandparent’s ate (which doesn’t exist anymore) was called the Gros Michel. The Gros Michel apparently tasted better, was creamier and had a more fruity taste. The reason it doesn’t exist anymore is because of Panama Disease. It’s a fungus that is transmitted through soil and water and can wipe out entire crops of bananas. It made the Gros Michel extinct and is doing its best to wipe out the Cavendish at this very moment. More on that next week.
Wednesday I grabbed a basket of raspberries that were delicious. They were from Washington State. Raspberries go in season here in June, but they’re mostly good year round. I’m going to make a point to go berry picking this summer as there are a ton of wonderful patches in this area and it’s been two years since I last did it.
Thursday I branched out and had a new variety of mango. I’ve seen yellow mangoes before, but never gave them a try. This one was from Mexico – and most of those we get in the U.S. are, they just grow best down there. They are in season right now so this one was delicious, but it was extremely sweet. I’d eat it again, but I don’t expect this variety to become a staple. I’m still not great at CUTTING mango, but I will hopefully get better with time. The pit in the middle is huge, although less so with this variety, and you have to cut the cheeks off lengthwise on the sides first. These mangoes are actually called the Ataúlfo, but they’re also commonly called young, baby, yellow, honey, Adaulfo, Adolfo, or Champagne mangoes.
Friday I had a Barlett pear. I’m sure I’ve had this pear before when I was a kid. My Mom says I used to love pears as a baby and it wasn’t until I was a bit older that I turned on them. My issue was they were too much like apples that weren’t appley enough. My dad used to slice up pears like an apple and then tell us they were apples. Nice try Dad. We always knew though. This came to me from Argentina, but I don’t know why because pears grow really well in Washington and Oregon. I’m sure there is a money reason behind this.
Today I had a different variety of orange. I’m not sure if I’ve had this exact one before – it’s possible – but it was new to me as far as I can actually remember. This was a Minneola tangelo and is a cross between a tangerine and a grapefruit. It tasted awesome. This was grown in the U.S. so probably Florida based on nothing but my weak knowledge that Florida is known for making oranges probably.
I’m excited to branch out a bit more this week. I’m going to the Japanese market today to see what kind of fruit they have and pick up something brand new! What fruit did you eat this week? What’s the most interested fruit you’ve eaten? Let me know.