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My cherimoya, shortly before it became smoothie fodder.

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September 15, 2006

Caramoybla Shopping

I am now in the possession of a supermarket cherimoya. They make infrequent appearances at the supermarket just up the road, but it's been a long time since I've bought one, because they usually look pretty far gone. These (at least some of them) looked pretty good, so despite the fact that they were darn expensive, I decided to grab one. I specifically searched out one with one of those little stickers on it, because I knew the checkout people wouldn't have a clue what it was. I couldn't find any of the good ones that had a sticker, so I pulled a sticker off a blackish one (which smelled like fancy tropical drinks and rotten vegetables) and stuck it on mine. I grabbed some grapes (a big black seedless with thickish skins that I couldn't identify) and a couple of apples, and headed to checkout.

Now, it was the absolute middle of the night (I got back from the lab at 1 am and had a hankering for some grapes), and the grocery store was completely dead, so the guy doing checkout and the guy bagging probably hadn't seen much action in a while. In fact, my general impression was that they may have been taking advantage of the lack of business by slipping out to enjoy the products of a particular cultivated plant not generally found in grocery stores. Either that, or they were both painfully, painfully stupid. Or maybe both.

Anyway, they have no trouble with the apples, but they had a problem with grapes, wondering if they were "black seedless" or "black seeded". I point out where the bag said "black seedless grapes" and where it had the product code, but it's as if they couldn't hear me, and the guy bagging suggests I eat one and tell them if it was seeded or not. I decline and insist I know they were seedless, and that was apparently enough for them. But I'm already dreading how they might deal with the cherimoya.

He picked it up, looked it over, and asked me what it was. "It's a Cherimoya," I said, "It's got a sticker on it." He looked it over.

"No it doesn't," he says. I take it from him, and sure enough, it doesn't anymore. With a sigh I hand it back to him. "What did you say it was it was?"

"It's a Cherimoya," I say again. He pulls out his list of codes. He asks where it's from. I tell him it's from South America.

"Here it is," he says, "Caramoybla." He punches it in, and it comes up "CARAMBOLA/STARFRUIT" on the register. I started to object, but the bagger interrupted.

"What's that thing?" he asks.

"It's a caramoybla," says his friend, "It's from Mexico."

"Actually, I think you've got it wrong," I say, "It came up starfruit. It's not a starfruit, it's a cherimoya".

"Well, I think starfruit's just another name for," says the cash register guy.

"It's not shaped like a star!" I say.

"Yeah, but these shapes kind of look like stars," he says, making a vague motion towards the fruit. I have no idea what he's talking about. "I think it must be the same thing, because they gave it the same code." I start to protest, but it's late and I'm tired, so I cave. I pay for my "caramoybla" and head home.

Really, it worked out for me, though, because carambolas were less than half the price of the cherimoya. I don't think they even had carambolas there...if they did, I didn't see them.

Note: And yes, I realize I changed tenses somewhere in my story. Let's just say I did it to add to the surreality of the tale. Because I'm too lazy to fix it.

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At 9/29/2006 02:38:00 PM, Blogger MSS said...

Where are your grocery store's cherimoyas from? I understand that they can't be grown in Florida. They could be from around my area--Fallbrook, just up the road, is a major growing area, as is Carpenteria (near Santa Barbara). But they could be from Spain, or maybe even from their native lands (Ecuador and Peru).

We are very lucky to be able to grow these fruit. They come from high mountain valleys in the Andes, and at our lattitude, sea level provides a similar clmate. I'll post new photos of mine soon, as they have grown a lot in the past year, and have fruit.

And you are lucky to get one for the price of a starfruit!

At 10/02/2006 09:45:00 PM, Blogger Evil Fruit Lord said...

Well, it's hard to say, since this one didn't have the required sticker. I've mostly seen them from California, though I recall seeing Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Mexico as well.

What cultivar(s) do you have?

I know people who have grown them here in Florida, but I think it would be next to impossible to pull it off commercially. It's just too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer.

Ever tried atemoya? I've seen it, but never actually eaten it. Some people successfully grow that here in Florida. I don't know that there's much of a market for it, but it was developed (partially, anyway) here in Florida, at the USDA station in Miami.

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