"Mom!" My nine year old, poking his head out of our host's kitchen, whispered urgently. I hurried in, unsure of what I would find. His hand was clenched in front of him but his eyes flickered past me, hovering around our host.
Assured that she was not looking, he opened up his hand to reveal a half eaten strawberry. I now recalled our friend offering my fruit lover some fresh berries.
"Do you want more?" I ask, confused.
He shook his head and shoved the nibbled berry toward my face. "It's not ... right." His voice wavered.
"What do you mean?" I picked up the berry and then I knew. I knew the horrible truth. I had spoiled my son. Spoiled him rotten.
To him, a strawberry came from The Strawberry King, a jovial fellow whose calls filled the marketplace:
Fresh and Sweet
Better than a Candy Treat.
You can also get blackberries and raspberries from the Strawberry King. But not apples. Those come from Auntie M along with other stone fruit, pomegranates and oranges. Sapphira's farm sells pumpkins and greens, carrots, potatoes, celery and even rhubarb. Honey comes from Ted, who also brings his lemons and avocados when they are in season. Dried beans and leeks? Those can be found over at Fifth Crow Farm.
But I digress. The proffered strawberry was a supermarket strawberry. Picked, by an unknown worker, and shuffled across the country on a truck. Sold in fluorescent-lit, air conditioned store. And to someone who has been eating berries from the Strawberry King his entire life, that was just not right.
I tend to agree.