Monday, September 08, 2008
The Oppression of the Jolly Fruits
I recently discovered some shocking information, something that is threatening to take over my whole life. Supposedly, we are supposed to be consuming 5-7 servings of fruit per day! I, in what I thought was normal behaviour, tend to eat 3 meals a day, the classical trio of breakfast, lunch and dinner. Now I have to add at least 2 and preferably 4 new eating periods to my already busy life. I can barely get it together to figure out what to eat for dinner. I spoke to several people about this and they all seemed totally au courant and blasé about it. When are they eating all this fruit? Where do they keep it hidden? I guess when you are brought up with these kinds of dutires from day one, eventually, no matter how onerous they may be, you eventually internalize them and they just become another part of your life. Though it is late in life for me, I figure that if I can learn a second language, I can at least make the attempt to start finally having a healthy diet.
But it has not been easy, by Persephone! Thank god I learned of this news just before I was to spend several weeks in Vancouver and Golden, BC and could take advantage of the fruits of the Okanagon Valley, the bread basket of British Columbia. And then luckily I got to spend a weekend almost immediately after that in California, to celebrate my parents' 50th anniversary (think of all the fruit they have shared). During those times, my new diet was made slightly easier in that I was surrounded by a fruit-enabling infrastructure. But since I have gotten back, it is taking all of my efforts to stay on track. It is not easy, let me tell you! My life now is centered entirely around the procurement and consumption of fruit. I work all day so I can make money to buy enough fruit. Then I spend the rest of the time buying it or eating it.
I mean at some point, we have to start asking ourselves, what is the point of eating all this fruit? To stay healthy so we are able to eat more fruit? When does the cycle end? Now I know how it feels to be a panda bear. I see how they are so loved by the Asians, because they represent the ultimate contradicting duality of buddhism. They must be the most stressed creatures on the planet yet they present the calmest outward appearance. Not like us! No wonder we are always getting into wars and stuff. It's exhausting! I write these notes in snatches between biting into a peach and realize I am going to have to learn how to type with one hand so I can still blog and eat fruit. Or maybe meezly and I can have an arrangement where one of us prepares fruit smoothies for an hour while the other sucks them down with a straw, while fulfilling all the other tasks in life. And the flies. My god, the flies! One dreads winter now more than ever. What will become of us? Should we load up the freezer now and just suck on frozen fruit, praying we can just make it through to spring, staggering to the supermarket, our skin pale, our teeth falling out, to just reach for the first strawberries...
For the time being, though, there is some good news. I am happy to announce that I have finally found access to some decent local, seasonal fruit here. In the four years I have been in Montreal, the fruit scene is a disaster. Mealy crap from California and Florida fills our supermarket shelves. I had heard from my sister about the delicious fruit of Ontario and saw some for the first time at Joli Fruits on 3800 St. Laurent up from Des Pins. I bought some Ontario peaches and they were freaking delicious! I mean really, really awesome. So good that I could actually, honestly have them for desert and not feel like I needed a chocolate cake and a pint of Haagen-daz to really feel satisfied. I spoke with one of the proprietors and she said that they had to make an extra effort to get Canadian fruit in the store. They also had some good wild blueberries from Québec and a few other things.
Recently, Galen Weston, faux-everyman boss of Loblaw's and Provigo has been doing these ads promoting their selling of the goods of Canadian farmers. I certainly have never seen any Canadian produce or fruits in the Provigo on Mont-Royal and St. Urbain. But I am happy to report that they were selling the Ontario nectarines as well, which are equally delicious (though not quite as well ripened). So good news all around.
So tell me dear readers (if there are any), is this just something that I have found out about recently and was always available, or is this a change in Montreal supermarkets purchasing practices? And are you able to find fruit from Quebec and Ontario in your neighbourhoods? If not, please take the time to ask the proprietor why they don't stock it. It's insane that they truck tasteless crap from the States when we have our own excellent supply a province next door.