Thursday, June 14, 2007
Peach # 18: Organic Produce
American fruit, the general unwashed mass of American fruit, is bred more to look good than to taste good. Meant to cater to the supermarket shopper who is entranced by a large, deep red strawberry, or a big shiny green apple, it tends to taste more like cardboard than it does fruit. Because of this, fruit connoisseurs like myself tend to think that the smaller and uglier the fruit is, the more authentic it is, and the more tasty. If you doubt me, go down to your local farmer's market and pick up a pallet of organic strawberries - the smaller and uglier the better - and you'll find that a tiny strawberry only a little larger than the nail on your pinky has as much strawberry taste in it as one of those huge franken-berry strawberries that span a couple inches and taste, really, only like strawberry-flavored water.
Boulder is a hotbed of organic produce. I was in the local hippy-food store when I saw some small, organic peaches on sale. Always ready for a new peach experience, I took two.
I waited a little while for them to ripen, and actually forgot about them, until the flesh of the smaller of the two felt so loose that I was worried it would fall off. I prefer my peaches maybe a bit overripe, so I took a bite - with gusto.
While the skin was dangerously soft, the flesh itself had a lot more stability to it than I'd expected. Often with an overripe peach, when you take a bite into it it kinda just explodes all over the place. But this ugly little organic peach came with in-built structural integrity. The flavors were not too sweet, but pleasantly complex. There was even a hint of a sharp citrusy taste towards the end which was very pleasant. I ate it down to the pit and decided to give the second, larger peach, another day or two to ripen up.
But then, after a hard day at work, I picked up this second peach the next day, looking forward to something sublime, something wonderful, something that would encourage me to listen to classical music and wish I were a Christian. But I picked it up. And it was mushy, positively mushy. And more - it sported a nice coat of light white mold. Into the trash it went. I had been denied my peach.