Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I can't help myself

I know they are not local. I can't help myself. I will succumb no matter what. In the dead of winter when cherries from Chile show up, I could care less about the carbon cost of my christmas cherries. I understand it is shear madness to transport non essential luxury food across the world. I don't care. I have to have my cherries! I know that in order for me to eat these cherries in December, that unreasonable measures were taken to get them to my grocery store, packaging, refrigerating and shipping over 7500 miles. And it doesn't get much better in the summer when they show up in abundance in the grocery stores, although my summer supply probably comes from somewhere in North America. I will pay anything, including an outrageous amount for my crop share through Cooks of Crocus Hill every July.  I loose complete sensibility about trying to eat local, caring about carbon footprints, and honestly if you told me that the labor conditions for the pickers was awful, I might pause but inevitably I would capitulate. I am not particularly proud about these successions but I love my cherries. 

My first actual memory of eating cherries took place only 20 years ago. I don't remember having them as a child, growing up. We had apples, oranges and bananas in our house. My mom's idea of a grand treat was frozen strawberries that showed up  in crystal glasses for Christmas brunch.  20 years ago when I was a novice nurse at Children's Hospital in Minneapolis I took care of a 9 year old girl from the Pacific Northwest. Katie Button came to have spinal surgery and spent the summer with us. She was my very first pediatric emergency, and stopped breathing one day because of too much pain medication. When it was time for Katie to leave the hospital we had a going away party. Katie didn't want cake or ice cream, she wanted cherries and she wanted to learn how to spit cherry pits. So I brought a bag of cherries to work and on her last day Katie and I sat in the stairwell of the hospital, eating cherries and spitting the pits down the stairwell. We had a blast and so began my love affair with cherries. 

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