I mostly eschew food that travels more than a few hundred miles to my table. Sometimes this is difficult because I want a grapefruit or I want an avocado, and there is one – right there! But I have been learning that waiting for the freshest foods pays off in flavour and nutrition. The early-picked, well-traveled grapefruit is absolutely nothing like the ones my grandfather would send us fresh from his tree in February. Tomatoes grown out of season halfway around the world are usually hard, grainy, pale, and always tasteless. Not worth the price or the carbon.
These are my exceptions:
The occasional, good-looking avocado from Mexico. I won’t indulge in ones from off-continent, but sometimes a Mexican aguacate makes its way in to my basket in winter. What’s a girl to do? It would be rude not to eat it sliced with scrambled eggs or chilaquiles.
The Green Mango. This one stems back from my days at University sharing the Lower Union house with CJ, Karishma, Siobhan, and Rahat. I learned that although I do not care for ripe mangoes, with their sticky-sweet, fibrous pulp, I love green mangoes that have not yet developed their texture or sweetness. The flesh is like butter and some sour remains. YUM. I can smell these mangoes at the store where, yes, I am that lady furtively smelling the fruit.
Here is the poem I wrote way back in 1996 after that first mango shared with Rahat in a dark wintry kitchen in Kingston, Ontario.
Ripe enough to eat
The colour of summer inside
Now summer is inside us
A secret we beam
Against the relentless cold
Of a slow slow spring.