I'm Just Here For The Food

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Fear of Fruit

I was in Sunshine grocery store today, and was walking through the produce aisle and found myself surrounded by all this great looking fruit. Living in the Napa Valley, we get a lot of good produce, yet I bought nothing. Not a thing...just couldn't do it. The reason? I wasn't sure any of it was good.

I think people don't eat a lot of fruit for the same reason, we're just not sure if it's going to be any good, and for the price stores are charging, shouldn't we have some assurance that the peaches will taste like peaches? If you keep buying lousy peaches you're eventually going to come to the conclusion that peaches just aren't any good, and will just avoid them. Consumers these days don't really care about seasonality. They want what they want when they want it, and stores have found ways to fill this need. This means we can by nice red tomatoes all year round, but most of the time they taste like crap. they're picked green,and treated with ethylene to turn them red, but they don't ever develop any flavor. The same can be said for most of the fruit found year round. The fruit is trucked in from around the globe, and while it might look pretty, the taste is usually lack luster, and so people just tend to avoid them even when they are in season.

As Ferran Adria once said, a great peach is always better than an OK lobster. But how do we know we're getting a great peach? I had some incredible strawberries when I was living in Davis a decade ago, and long to try some again, but do I really want to spend the money just to be disappointed? There were some great looking white peaches in the store today, but who knows how they taste, and at $6 a pound, am I willing to take the risk?

One way to get good produce is to shop at farmers markets, but unfortunately the St. Helena farmers market is on Friday mornings when I'm at school. There is always Napa, but sometimes I don't feel like driving 30 minutes just for the hope that there is something good. There are some fruit stands around, but even these tend to truck their stuff in and who knows how far its traveled. I guess there isn't certainty in any aspect of life, and the chance that I will get a truly great peach is enough to make me take the chance.

14 Comments:

  • you could always try buying just 1 peach...ya?

    By Blogger Miss Abby, at 5:57 AM  

  • Well yes, but then you would have to try it, and then go back in and buy more, and I'm kind of lazy when it comes to shopping.

    By Blogger Peter, at 9:30 PM  

  • The produce hut at the corner of Deer Park and Silvarado is about a quarter of the price of Sunshine, and only seems to sell stuff that's actually in season. I've had good luck with everything there. Except the peppers, 'cause they don't have any air conditioning and they get all shriveled up...

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