Monday, July 26, 2004

Who thinks up this stuff?

These are Honeydew Nectarines. They are brought to you by the folks at the Ito Packing Company and according to the sign at Whole Foods, they are a cross between a nectarine and a Honeydew melon. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any more details on the Ito Packing website. I did find this really strange brochure, though.

I tasted one of the nectarines this evening. One was yellower than the other and, I assumed, riper, so that’s the one I cut into. It was awful. To be fair, I’m pretty sure the quality had nothing to do with its parentage. It was mealy and bland with only the slightest tartness near the skin – typical of peaches and nectarines purchased in the grocery store. It probably had been refrigerated before it had ripened.

I’m curious how much of a market there really is for these kinds of fruits. I’m sure there are suckers like me that buy one or two just to try, but I can’t believe people go back to buy more.

A recent article in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin talks about some of the stone fruit hybrids that are currently available. The Mango Nectarine, a cross between two different nectarines, is one of the fruits featured in the article. The Mango Nectarine is so named because of the color and flavor of the nectarine, rather than its lineage, which makes me question the accuracy of that sign in Whole Foods.

The Star-Bulletin article went on to explain how these fruits are developed. One fruit tree is hand pollinated with pollen from another fruit tree, the resulting seeds are planted, and after several years fruit are born on these new trees. The end result of one cross pollination may be hundreds of fruits – each different from the other. These fruits are “evaluated” and for each one that makes it to market, there are hundreds of others that don’t. Wonder what they tasted like?


Reid said...

Hi Cathy,

So funny that you would do a post like this. Chika at She Who Eats also did a similar post.

What they do with fruit these days is quite intriguing. Sometimes it works out wonderfully, at other times it becomes a huge mess.

Cathy said...

Thanks for the link Reid! I hadn't seen Chika's post.

Anonymous said...

Wow, that brochure is truly hysterical! Thanks for posting the pictures. I also tend to buy "different" things at the store just to try them for once. (My most recent purchase was lychees...very interesting and not what I would have expected looking at them. I will buy them again, provided they go on sale again.) Anyway, I've been enjoying reading your blog!

Alice (from CLBB)

Cathy said...

Hi Alice! I'm amazed that a company would decide that spaceships and robots would be a more effective way to market fruit then trees and pastoral scenes.

chika said...

Hi Cathy,
Interesting! I, too, tend to buy such funky things just to for a try... I think more often than otherwise those newer hybrids are not substantially better than their parentage these days (although I am sure lots of now readily available kinds were originally some sort of hybrids as well)!

Cathy said...

Hi Chika - I expect you're right - I'm sure some of our old favorites are hybrids. Actually, I don't mean to belittle hybrid fruits, but it seems sometimes that novelty outweighs taste in the decision-making process!