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  • Writer's pictureTina

Fruit Bowls: The Bean's Latest Trend

I have lamented that The Bean would live solely on Swiss Rolls, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, and Mac N Cheese. Recently, she has become a bit more brave with food experimentation. When my daughter embraces a trend, I usually sit back and wait for it to pass. However, her new fascination with fruit bowls is something I have embraced wholeheartedly. I was bombarded with pictures of fruit bowls she found on Pinterest for days. "Mom, look how pretty this looks!" or "Mom, can you buy me a dragon fruit?" or the ever-popular phrase that leads to unprecedented levels of excitement, "I AM SO EXCITED FOR FRUIT BOWLS!!!!" Many conversations with my child begin with, "I am so excited for...insert almost anything: Christmas, Summer, Florida, the musical, etc. Her level of enthusiasm is part of her quirky little charm. I love that girl.

Currently, she is so excited about fruit bowls. Embracing this new level of enthusiasm for fresh fruit is something I will do with enthusiasm. In the last two weeks, we have eaten two fresh pineapples, mangoes, dragon fruit, kiwi, cotton candy grapes, oranges, grapefruit, apples, and an Asian pear. There is no recipe, dear reader. We work together to cut up new and unusual fruit and arrange it on a plate or bowl to create a display that is "so pretty!" and we enjoy it.

I make her a small, personal fruit plate before she comes home from school, set it in the refrigerator, and she happily snacks on it while she tells me about her day. She is not fond of all the new fruits we have tried. She has declared that mango tastes good but has a weird texture. Oranges are only acceptable sliced thinly. Dragon fruit shall never darken our door again. Asian pears are too grainy. However, pineapple is a newly accepted delicacy. Grapefruit is okay. The old standards of grapes and apples, red, not green, and crispy, not mushy, continue to be favorites. I can't say I am surprised that she does not care for many new and exotic fruits, but the fact that she is willing to try them makes me happy.

Her enthusiasm for fresh fruit has been contagious. I now crave fresh fruit for lunch or a snack. The Bibbed Wonder finds himself snacking on grapes rather than chips. I always keep a bowl of washed fruit in the refrigerator, which has become our go-to. I am not sure how long this fresh fruit trend will last. However, while my child is on a healthy food kick, I will encourage her. She is now "so excited to go to the grocery store!" I wish I could muster that much enthusiasm for grocery shopping, but it's not in me.

Although I never saw a fresh fruit trend coming, it now gives me hope that she might someday embrace the room cleaning, doing the dishes, or putting away laundry trends. It would be music to my ears to have her exclaim with glee, "I am so excited to vacuum!" It's a long shot, but one can dream. Kids today are so weird, said with a smile.

As we move into warmer weather and our growing season, I encourage you to eat locally. Soon, fresh strawberries will be available, followed by blueberry season. Your local farmer's market will soon be stocked with fresh local produce. Support your local farmers and shop local produce stands and small markets. Ask them about their growing practices. Farmers are almost always happy to talk shop. The locally grown strawberries cannot be compared to the large, whitish, flavorless berries you buy in big box stores. Find a pick your own field of strawberries or blueberries and spend a few hours in nature picking your own fruit. It's fun and a great thing to do with kids. Stutzman's Blueberry Farm will open for the season in late June or early July. One will not find more beautiful scenery than overlooking the blueberry fields of Stutzman's Blueberry Farm on RTE. 422. Berries are great frozen; if you're returning to grassroots, turn them into home-canned preserves and enjoy them throughout the year. It's important that we not lose the practices and knowledge of those who came before us. I told my bib overall wearing wonder buns that we will set aside some time to preserve this year. I believe he said okay, but it was the kind of okay he uses to placate me and shut me up. He does that a lot.

So, on this gloriously sunny day, stay safe, be smart, enjoy fresh fruit, eat local when possible, be an adventurous eater, and keep washing your hands. Oh! I hope to see you on opening day at Ligonier Country Market! Enjoy over 100 farmers, producers, artisans, and small businesses.

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