This time of year, I grow lustful for fresh fruit. We used to get pretty good fruit from Florida and California — sometimes even from Spain, Israel and other warm places. Especially citrus. In recent years, the quality fruit available in the supermarket during the winter has gotten pathetic and costly. Even local peaches were hard and sour. There was very little corn. The apples were good and I was grateful for that, at least.
I don’t mind paying for fruit that has to be trucked in from far away, but I mind paying a lot for inedible fruit.
Last night, I was looking at a copy of the New Yorker. There was an ad on the back of the magazine for sumo oranges. These are a crossbreed — not GMO. They are a crossbreeding of oranges, pomelos, and nectarines. They are huge, easy to peel, seedless and what a beautiful golden color! I was practically drooling on the magazine. Sad, but true.
I realized I didn’t care what it cost. I need fresh fruit. I’d been surviving on jars of applesauce and small containers of cooked fruit. I hadn’t had a piece of fruit — fresh fruit — since last fall. So I did something I’ve never done before. I ordered oranges, nectarines, and grapefruit from Whole Foods. And you know what? They delivered it all exactly when they promised and I have a refrigerator full of citrus fruit.
I’m thrilled. Really. I opened one of the oranges after dinner and it was so big — and sweet — I shared it with Owen and Garry. The oranges are bigger than the grapefruit and the nectarines are organic and no more expensive than regular nectarines.
I’m almost drooling into my computer as I write this. I’d like to think that the dearth of fruit is because of the pandemic, but it isn’t. I’m not sure what the reason is. Part of it is that the local farms are closing down. The farmers got old, their kids didn’t want to farm and the land was worth a fortune. So they sold the farms — not to developers but simply to people who wanted beautiful land along the river. But the cows are gone and the fresh corn is disappearing.
The only fruit that is still growing locally are apples — we have a lot of orchards — and some small produce. Cucumbers, squash, tomatoes. Otherwise, everything grows somewhere else and whatever they deliver to us is not only not worth the price, it’s also not worth eating.
But ah, right now, my fridge is fully of golden fruit. I feel blessed by citrus!