Produce in season


Walking through the produce department in Eastside Marketplace the other evening was a delight.



It smelled like a country garden at dawn. Strawberries. Cherries. The warm musty smell of ripe tomatoes-on-the-vine.



These are the pleasures of “produce in season.”



I remember the Marche Central in Tunis, where we only got stuff in season. Of course, when you’re in North Africa, seasons are longer, but you learn to appreciate what you’ve got, while you have it. Bananas we had maybe three days a year, when a shipment arrived from the Ivory Coast, and they were precious. (I remember walking down the street in Tunis after living there for a couple of years, and seeing a banana peel! And suddenly breaking into a sprint, running to the market, to see if there were any bananas left!)



And delicate morels, and sweet fresh reddish figs, and little soft pears that tasted like candy . . .






I saw a woman the other evening at Eastside Marketplace pick up a honeydew melon in one meaty claw and holler at a produce guy: “How can you tell if this thing is any good?”



I wanted to say: Smell it, you idiot!




You see how disconnected people have become with nature? She thought a melon was like a box of cereal, and had a “best by” date printed on it.



It never occurred to her that she was holding a big greenish seed-pod in her hand, bred to be big and juicy and fragrant . . .






Coming soon: canteloupe!



About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to

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