Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Fruit Loop

One of my favorite summer delights is the fresh Fruit Stand. Even though I know most of the product comes from the same source as the stuff I buy at the grocery store, I swear that Fruit Stand fruit tastes better. I think of going to the Fruit Stand as like going for ice cream. And what could be better than that? I'll tell you what: taking a break during a long summer bike ride at a Fruit Stand. That combination of a cycling-induced endorphine high and the blissful sugar rush that follows that first juicy bite of a fresh nectarine - it can turn a dilapitated truck in an abandoned gravel parking lot into a tropical oasis.

I've developed a small list of bike routes that feature a Fruit Stand as a destination rest stop. When I'm feeling ambitious, I connect a few of these routes together to form what I like to call my Fruit Loop.

I did my Fruit Loop on Saturday in the sweltering 32 degree heat. When I hit the third and final Fruit Stand on the Loop, I was famished and allowed myself to be upsold by the charming Fruit Stand Guy (at this point, it didn't take much to charm me). I feasted and, as my blood sugar level rebounded, causing a moment of sobriety, the magic paused. I realized the hideous reality of the Fruit Stand. Not only had I just paid six dollars for six pieces of fruit (for the record, I did not eat it all at once), but none of it was washed (my dad would cringe if he knew).

Let me first address the matter of the price gouging. It seems to me that the Fruit Stand Guy has the low overhead advantage - no capital tied up in real estate, and a jiffy marker and a piece of cardboard for advertising. He also has the advantage of no posted price. When he sees a salt stained cyclist approaching with a look of desperation, he sees infinite price elasticity. A station wagon full of restless children is the motherlode. This is good business and he knows it.

Then there is the matter of hygeine. I would wager a bet that more than 95 percent of Fruit Stand consumers are purchasing for instant gratification, rather than as a supplement to their Sunday grocery run (particularly in light of my pricing revelation). Assuming that this is the case, doesn't it seem to make sense that Fruit Stand fruit should be ready to eat? What kind of cruel trick is this to tempt ready consumers with mouth watering produce that will needs to be washed first? I looked at the Fruit Stand Guy, with his rotting teeth, stained shirt and blackened fingernails and wondered what value he placed on hygiene. I decided not to take a gamble and I tucked the rest of my fruit in my jersey for later, cleaner, consumption.

In the future, I think I'll pack my own fruit (smuggling plums?).


Anonymous Anonymous said...

hmmm- your map closely resembles my 'coffee stop' day trip and although my mode of transport is 4 wheels, not 2, the fun is more in the journey and the shared company than the destination. I will have to keep my eyes open for your 'studly' fruit seller (or maybe not)..... anyway, your points of interest (millarville and bragg creek) are always worth seeing any time of the year. keep on pedalin'.

July 18, 2007 at 8:05:00 PM MDT  
Blogger Emma said...

Love the fruit loop map. Such a good idea.

Mind you,

for the record,

I actually worked for one adolescent summer at a fruit stand. Every morning we'd get up early and drive the big fruit van to...Save-On-Foods. Not a joke. That's where it all came from.

I think it's bets if you just believe what you want to believe. A bit of pesticide probably won't kill you. Probably.

July 19, 2007 at 7:50:00 AM MDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awesome map - I was wondering what you were doing yesterday with all those coloured markers!

Hey Emma, wasn't your fruit stand run by a guy named "peg-leg Ken"? His hygiene was also impeccable wasn't it? Maybe there's some clause in the fruitstand owners' union agreement that prohibits cleanliness (unfair to the competition)…

July 19, 2007 at 11:53:00 AM MDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your fruit loop is one of my regular rides (in clockwise direction) since I live near Southland Dr. and 24 St. Funny that I never noticed any fruits except the banana in my jersey pocket.

July 19, 2007 at 3:27:00 PM MDT  
Blogger Emma said...

His name, in fact, was "dead-leg-ken". Close enough. And, you're right, creepy and unhygienic enough too.

July 19, 2007 at 6:04:00 PM MDT  
Blogger tori said...

Mystery person: In the 'off-season', my Fruit Loop does transform into a Java Loop as well. There's something special about small town cafe's.

Emma: Save-On-Foods? No way! Sounds like a good summer job I long as you like to read.

Chris: I had grand plans of a more elaborate map. I love hand drawn maps. But finding the time and the appropriate tools to make it happen were delaying the post and it was stressing me out, so I settled for office instruments. In retrospect, it was probably not something to get stressed out about.

Henry: Ah, the banana. natures energy bar. great idea - but that requires that i actually go grocery shopping.

July 19, 2007 at 11:13:00 PM MDT  

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