It’s All of This April 17, 2006

A two-year-old boy has a blonde peach-fuzz head, long eyelashes, and sky-blue eyes. He’s toddling around the office after his dad – Erik, picking up trash. The inflatable blow-up bouncy-bounce is sputtering to life, rising in the middle of the warehouse. It’s the first annual FruitGuys Bring Your Kids to Work Day and Erik, and the crew are juggling work while shutting down the warehouse, setting up an art room, Easter egg hunt and now this inflatable paradise. The parents open the door to the warehouse, and the kids go wild. They dive into the 48-foot-long inflatable mountain and start bouncing. Enzo giggles uncontrollably – his smile bubbles. He jumps and yells: “Am I dreaming, am I dreaming?!?” The kids start hugging each other like they’ve been reunited after years on separate desert islands. As they eat berries, Justin asks: “Why is a raspberry called a raspberry? Because it has those seeds and hair and it’s raspy – didn’t you know that?”

By the end of the day, parents are loading up their kids and heading home – everyone is exhausted. The next morning Erin tells me that she had a nightmare about rabbits with one eye watching the kids and they hid Easter eggs that no one could find and nobody got anything done, and deadlines were piling up. It’s all a juggling act – work, life, family, and friends. And what is the ultimate fruit that embodies it all? It’s the Kumquat, of course, that dichotomous enigma of sweet and tart, outer and inner, the yin and yang of taste.
The Kumquat – the Original Sweet Tart.


I like the idea that the kumquat is both sweet and tart and that to experience it fully, you have to eat the whole thing. Most people rub it gently between their hands to release the sweet oil in the skin and then pop the whole fruit in their mouth. You’ll have to chew vigorously so that the sweet taste (which is in the skin) and the tart taste (which comes from the inner fruit and is the majority of the experience this week) merge and provide you with a full eating experience. (Okay, maybe I sound a bit like Ross, that red-bearded painter guy on PBS who always painted those landscape pictures – “just a little happy tree here with the fan brush.”) Nonetheless, the Kumquat is truly a unique fruit. What other fruit requires you to enjoy it in total to understand it. It’s an excellent natural reminder about the balance between the good and bad, the sweet and the tart.

Eat it all – Enjoy and be fruitful! – Chris Mittelstaedt

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