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March 31, 2010 > Flavors from the Garden

Flavors from the Garden

Submitted By William Merrill

If you buy most of your produce from the supermarket then the joy of tree ripened fruit may not be part of your daily experience. While biting into a ripe apple from my orchard I have had moments when world melts away as my palette floods with flavor. It reminds me how lucky I am to have this joy in my life. The experience of biting into perfectly ripe produce can not be described; it can only be shared by offering a taste to others.

The flavors of our food probably contribute to a child's eating habits. Our natural food is losing much of its flavor while artificial flavors are replacing what our children taste. We have grown to accept unripe produce, bananas treated with ethylene gas, and fruit bred for shipping instead of eating. Much of our food is down right old or over processed. I am amazed when I see commercials with sweeteners being sprinkled over raspberries and blueberries. Last time I tasted berries in my garden they were sweet. The idea of putting sweetener on top seemed odd to me until I realized berries in the commercial were probably picked green and came from distant Chile.

I recently had the disagreeable experience while consuming a taco from a well known national chain taco chain. The shell of the taco was completely rancid. Only the preservative embalming process kept it from being green as a Saint Patrick's Day beer. The experience reminded me once again why I almost never eat in these chain restaurants. I also remembered why I grow and prepare much of my own food at home. By the way, the national corporate office of this taco chain never responded to my complaints about their food. Guess you have to die from the stuff before they will give you the time of day.

Do you remember when people would say "Tastes like chicken" to describe a strange food? If chicken gets any worse we may end up saying "Tastes like pork". Several of the major chicken producers seem to be distributing a stringy tasteless poultry that doesn't resemble the birds I remember from a few years back. When chicken quality started to decline I dismissed it as my own poor cooking or a grumpy state of mind. I felt redeemed when I had three other people mentioned to me that chicken just isn't what it used to be.

For a while I got around the problem by purchasing an excellent brand of kosher chicken. As the recession deepened my favorite brand was discontinued. I would grow my own but a backyard chicken harvest is out of the question in Fremont. In an effort to keep the community safe Fremont has me limited to two birds, barely enough for a barbeque. I may return to being a vegetarian and stick to raising apples in order to find food that really tastes like it should.

Here is a fruit salad recipe:

Tree ripe fruit, Walnut and Greek yogurt salad
2 ripe local grown Fuji Apples, cored and cut to 1/2"cubes
1 ripe Comice pear from your backyard, cored, peeled and cut to 1/2" cubes
1 ripe but still crunchy Fuyu persimmon picked by hand in the late autumn sun.
Peel Fuyu and cut to 1/2" cubes.
3 tablespoons of English walnut, gathered under a local tree, shelled by hand over conversation with friends and chopped to 1/4" pieces.

Place all ingredients into a medium sized glass or ceramic mixing bowl and add one
16 oz. container of homemade non-fat Greek style vanilla flavored yogurt. Blend together with joy and serve for desert to friends who may have forgotten what ripe local grown produce actually tastes like. The planet and those lucky friends will thank you for your consideration.

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