In a city filled with gumshoes and private eyes, there’s one guy they call to fill in the blanks when it comes to fruit investigations. That’s me – FruitGuy noir. I got my start way back in 1974 – you remember – that joker that went around pretending to talk on the phone while holding a banana to his ear. I don’t know how many innocent folks he lulled into a false sense of casual conversation only to blow them away with his trademark: “I can’t hear you I’ve got a banana in my ear!” He got twenty for impersonating a comedian and an extra 10 for slandering good fruit.
Last week I got a call from a regular: He was confused. “I see California grown organic blueberries in my crate this week,” he said.
“The problem?” I asked slowly.
“It’s only March. I thought fresh blueberries from California started later than this?”
We talked payment. He wanted to pay me in high-fives. I’d been stung recently by a client who had stuck me with a series of low fives only to pull away and catch me with the dreaded “too slow” move that shamed me for weeks. “Throw in a thumbs up with a “what up dog” and I’m in.
I checked in with Sandra Davis, the farmer who grew these organic off-season local blues to make sure everything was on the up and up. It turns out that she is not only a gifted graduate from the University of Delaware masters program in Plant Science, but she also had hands-on arboretum training at Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania and Winterthur Gardens in Delaware. In 2002, she bought 100 acres in North Santa Barbara County. In the spring of 2003, she planted 2 acres and then another 4 acres in 2004 of highbush blueberries on a southern slope at the western edge of the Santa Rita Hills appellation (where the movie Sideways was filmed.) The same cool, temperate weather that allows the Pinot Noir grapes to hang and ripen slowly giving them wonderful flavors and crispness also enables the blueberries to chart the same course.
I met my client and told him about Sandra. “If you want more info on what’s in the crate,” I told him, “go to www.fruitguys.com. The mixes and growers are different by region. He stuffed blueberries into his mouth and gave me a high five. Then he pulled a Fonz and shot me a double thumbs up that made me feel like a million bucks.
Enjoy and be fruitful! – Chris Mittelstaedt firstname.lastname@example.org