Friday Night Sillies: Most/least favorite fruits

fruit salad


This all started on Twitter because why not?! It all began with an amusing, yet utterly random, “favorite fruit ranking” tweet–as silliness often begins–and some of us just felt the need to keep it going.

Here’s my top five and bottom of the list…

  1. Apples: super-versatile. I can eat apples every day, preferably in applesauce form (although we tend to eat our way through the orchard when we go apple picking each Fall). Best. Fruit. Evar.
  2. Bananas: another versatile fruit, though it avoids #1 status by virtue of its uncanny ability to go from ripe to over-ripe when you turn your back for a hot second. Only the avocado messes with you more when it comes to its ripening schedule (and the banana at least gives you visual cues).
  3. Grapes: potential winner of “Best Utility Fruit” awards just for their fermented goodness, grapes have been a favorite of mine since they stopped being a choking hazard. LOVE LOVE LOVE grapes.
  4. Watermelon: far less versatile than the others on the list, but boy is this a fantastic fruit salad anchor. If nothing else, you can spit seeds on friends and family, which also makes it “Most Entertaining Fruit”.
  5. Cantaloupe: sweet and also rather perfect for a fruit salad, yet not always as refreshing as watermelon. Still–A++ in terms of melony-goodness.

  1. Cherries: I just don’t get the thing with cherries. They’re a bit too sweet, they have these pits that are designed to kill you, and their primary claim to fame is either as an adornment for a child’s alcohol-free bar drink or for how their stems can be deftly tied by the tongue of a certain young resident of Twin Peaks.


OK folks: what are your top 5, and your least favorite? Use the comments below to post your list. (Please note that, for this exercise, you should ignore things that are often classified as vegetables, like tomatoes, avocadoes, etc.).

Adventures in CSA: savings and how we shop grocery store circulars

The other day, while heading into dd’s school to pick her up from afterschool care, I was approached by a neighbor who had checked out the blog recently. She commented that she was interested by the findings I’d made on savings from using a CSA rather than buying fruits and veggies from the store, and she had a small bone to pick. As she explained it, she tends to shop based on sale prices and her shopping is certainly influenced by what’s on special every week. I definitely get where she’s coming from, so I wanted to take a moment to explain how I get to the numbers I’ve recorded in my various entries (starting with Adventures in CSA year 1).

My basic premise was to take a CSA box’s contents and compare the price for having selected the very same things from the grocery store where I shop every weekend. We weighed every item that we received from the CSA and I then plugged the prices from the store and the weights (or quantities, if sold by the item) into an Excel spreadsheet that was copied and pasted into the blog post.

The prices I chose were for the closest possible item (which wasn’t necessarily the organic version, since the fruit & veg I got were local but not necessarily organic, per se) and were for the “no-card” price. My store, like so many grocery stores, has an affinity card program where you get better prices by having their card than if you came in off the street not having it. Why would I do this? My rationale was so that I wasn’t biasing the results by listing the prices you’d need to get by giving up personal information. While a lot of people participate in affinity programs, not everyone does and – since the prices at our farmstand don’t ebb and flow based on whether or not they know anything about our purchases – I wanted to approximate what it would be like to purchase the same things if you just came in without a prior relationship with the grocery store.

And then we get to the issue of straight sales. As my neighbor pointed out, sales on specific items influence her purchases. Honestly, the same is true for us. However, when working with a CSA, the box’s contents are controlled by what’s ripe rather than by a store’s attempts to drive specific purchases. For example, right now, there’s not a ton that you’d get in your CSA box other than squash, apples, potatoes and maybe some onions. By contrast, what’s on sale right now at my grocery store (based on their flyer): raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, apples, pears, avocados, grape tomatoes, squash, potatoes, mushrooms, peppers, and baby carrots. Of those, only the apples, squash and potatoes could have been produced locally (and none are marked on the flyer as being local). The berries came from places like Argentina, Chile and Mexico. If we’re lucky, the grape tomatoes and avocados came from California – but it’s likely that at least one, if not both, came from Mexico.

So here’s the rub: especially during the fall and winter months, what gets put on sale at the grocery store may never even show up in a CSA box because it’s only in season thousands of miles away from where we live. That doesn’t mean we won’t buy berries; both of the kids are berry-monsters and love to eat them a half-pint at a time. My point is more around the fact that if you want to buy locally, your purchase decision will be driven by what’s in season and what’s ripe at that particular point. For a place like New England, where the winter months require importing berries and other fruits & veg from farther-flung parts of the world, it’s a great thing that these are ever put on sale so that you’re not paying full freight (quite literally).

My neighbor has an excellent point about sales having an influence, and in New England (as well as other four-season locales) you have to be willing to buy things that aren’t grown locally in order to be able to eat certain foods – like berries – all year ’round. The other option is to preserve things early and often, such as my canning-crazed friend Local Kitchen. And, thankfully, there’s room for lots of different approaches to eating healthy foods all year long.

Adventures in CSA (year 2 week 11): End of Summer, but not an end to the boxes

It seems improbable that the summer has already come to an end – wasn’t it just May? Oh well. On the plus side, dd is now in school and thinks it’s brilliant. Even better, I now have a metric ton of sweet peppers to slice and send with her to school in her lunches. When I saw the list for this week’s veggie box contents, I turned to dh and said “WE ARE GETTING THIS BOX”. The thought of getting all those tomatoes and ears of corn just made my mouth water.

The loveliness of this end of summer bounty was filled with such color…and a bit of confusion for dh. While he was happy to see that a bunch of multi-colored radishes made its way into the box, he was confused by the darkest one, until I explained that I’d seen something just like it last week at the grocery store. I’d never seen a black radish before last weekend, and then here we were – presented with one in our veggie box! I’ll probably give it a shot, although I have to say that radishes typically just don’t do it for me. Ah well, you can’t win ’em all, right?

This week’s take:


Adventures in CSA year 2 week 11

Color, color everywhere!


  • Peaches
  • Arugula
  • Tomatoes
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Corn
  • Large Cherry Tomatoes
  • Radishes
  • Squash


Half the corn already went towards dinner last night, and some of the cherry tomatoes made an EXCELLENT addition to my omelet this morning. Ah, if only I had some mozzarella in the house with which to make an arugula-tomato-mozzarella sandwich…well, that can be sorted out when I go to the grocery store later today.

I don’t have high hopes for the cost comparison, but anything’s possible. The box was fairly heavy as it was laden with so many yummy things, but items priced in bunches don’t typically cost a lot. Also, oddly, the peppers were short – we were supposed to get 2lbs (according to the slip left in the box after packing), but we only got just about 1-1/4lbs. Enh. I don’t think we’d know what to do with 2lbs of sweet peppers anyway. I’ll post how things went on the pricing in a day or so, after I’ve had a chance to toss everything into Excel. Yeah, I’m that kind of geek. But what else would you expect from someone who tracks the value of a veggie box over the course of a season? Honestly.