At our house, there are almost always apples and bananas. They are the go-to snack for my husband (when he’s trying to be healthy). Well, there is a brief period when he says, “Don’t buy any more apples. They’re out of season.” He’s talking about Honeycrisp and Pink Lady apples, his favorites. As the food shopper, I’m more aware of the seasons coming and going, not just here but other cultivated places (Chile, for instance). Fortunately, when these apple favorites are dwindling here in the Northern Hemisphere, the Southern Hemisphere orchards are bearing and apples will soon be shipped to us again.
Bananas are a different story altogether…seemingly always in season, thanks to being grown all around the world. For now, you can always find bananas, right? Inexpensive at $.49/lb, or a bit more for organic. Always there…dependable, affordable, delicious fruit. Our family did have a unique experience a few years ago, living in North Africa in 1990’s, when bananas weren’t a part of our household fruit supply. Not because there was a scarcity of them but because of the politics of the day. [See link below.] Bananas are the perfect imported fruit.
These fruits are not what we in the U.S. think of as summer fruits; they are more the old standards.
Summer fruit is a many-course feast of perfect deliciousness. Where we live, summer begins with strawberries. Then there’s the brief glorious seasons of cherries, blueberries, and blackberries. They make for handfuls of plump sweetness, and we all have our favorites.
The berry season is followed by the melons – watermelon and cantaloupe – the perfect finish of every summer cookout.
And last, for us, are the sun-bronzed peaches that drip sweet juice down your arm as you eat them over the kitchen sink or without a plate outdoors.
Summer fruit can stand alone as clear evidence of a kind and loving Creator God. So much goodness is fruit in season. The Bible is full of references to fruit as gifts from God and as the outcome of lives yielded to God (Psalm 1:1-6; Song of Solomon 2:3-5; Galatians 5:22-23; John 15:1-17; etc.)
I love all of these fruits, but my favorite is the cherry in its season. Cherries are completely perfect, right down to the seed pit which requires disposal, forcing us to slow down eating these lovelies, or we would eat them until they made us sick.
One of the leading national producers of cherries is Turkey, and we had the sweet opportunity of being there during cherry season one year. In the hotel where we stayed for a conference, the buffets offered huge bowls of cherries. We ate to our full every day that we were there, such that, just the memory of that culinary experience would be enough for us if it was all we would have of cherry season.
Still, at least once a summer in the US, I pay the big bucks to buy cherries trucked to us from Washington State or California. And I remember that there are places in the world, where “bad” or blemished cherries are transformed into indescribably lovely juice or cooked into pies for the pickers’ families who gathered them. Cherries are grown for those able to afford them…and at least once or twice in the season, we are among them.
Summer fruit is remarkable, really. Short growing seasons. Heat. Drought. Transport issues. We definitely should savor them (as we do) and not take them for granted.
The always-present fruit like bananas should cause us to be grateful as well. Bananas are not bound by a short season and they are enjoyed by most peoples of the world, not just the affluent. Still as I read about fruit, trying to raise this piece above just a love affair with food, I was struck by how the fruit that we just assume will always be in our supermarkets may actually not be. Not just related to drought, for instance, but also to disease. Bananas are no exception (see links below).
I am grateful for all these delicious fruits of someone’s summer – those we find locally, and those touched by hands across the globe to bring them to our market. I am thankful for the means to enjoy cherries and for those who did the work to bring these to our table.