I may hate fruit, but I love farmers markets. Especially when they happen to be set up next to a giant cheesecake store.
Yesterday, my mom and I went to Eli’s Farmers Market in Portage Park, where I supported my local farmers by buying a slice of cheesecake, a whole cheesecake, Greek yogurt with honey, and . . . fruit.
Yes, I bought fruit, but this was supposed to be some kind of magical, life-altering fruit. Normally I eat fruit only to avoid scurvy and also because I’m easily intimidated by those crazed health nuts who insist that we all have to eat something like 90 servings of fruit a day to survive. I usually have my fruit in the form of a blended smoothie so I don’t have to actually chew anything. I do like fruit flavor—an apple pie can be delicious if you carefully pick out the apples and eat only the apple-y goo and crust. I’m not at all opposed to the fruit-flavored Pop Tarts, and now that Fruit Loops come with those marshmallow treats, I’m all over it.
Anyway, back to the farmers market. I spent most of my time at the Delightful Pastries stand, eyeing the poppyseed cake, giant muffins, and butter cookies. I considered some grape tomatoes. I pretended to read the literature at Eli’s stand so I wouldn’t feel guilty about eating their free cheesecake samples. I joined my mom at a fruit stand, turned up my nose at the watermelons and peaches and started walking away when I heard the vendor explain how one variety of his melons was, like, 18% sugar.
I suddenly became interested in fruit.
“Which is the one with all the sugar?” I asked.
Turns out the intriguingly named butterscotch melon is so sweet and delicious you can’t even believe you’re eating fruit. It’s supposed to really have a rich, butterscotchy flavor. Fruit that tastes like dessert! Sounds like my kind of fruit. I couldn’t pass it up.
I put our bags in the car so we could shop a bit more. When we returned, the car smelled like a melon patch had exploded in the backseat. That ripe melon smell wasn’t doing much for my tastebuds, but I was still looking forward to my butterscotch melon.
Once home, I set my new fruity friend on the counter and soon the whole house smelled like melon. Not like an exotic, sweet, sugary, butterscotch melon, but like a plain old overripe canteloupe. But, I thought, it will taste extraordinary. I will have a new fruit in my life. Everything will be different from now on, fruit-wise.
Which would you rather eat?
When I could take it (and by “it,” I mean the smell) no more, I cut into the melon with great anticipation. EWWWwww! (See above.) It looked just like a mushy muskmelon. Never mind, I thought, it will taste completely different: complex, sweet, like nothing I’ve ever eaten before. The fruit vendor promised!
It tasted like a canteloupe. Worse, an overripe canteloupe. I took a few bites, then threw it away. Damn you, fruit! Will I never learn?!
If you want to support your local farmer:
- In the Chicago area, the Eli’s Farmers Market is every Thursday through October 18 from 7 AM to 1:30 PM. Call (773) 736-3417 for information.
- Find a farmers market in your state.
- Show your love by wearing “orgasmic” T-shirts.
If you want to hate fruit:
- Focus on vegetables instead. Did you know a red pepper has way more vitamin C than a stinky old orange?
- Get your fruit from other sources, like cereal, healthful snacks, and refreshing desserts.