Back in July, I complained about my experience shopping for Fuji apples, which I eat almost daily. I'd go to Whole Foods and pay a small fortune for organic Fujis, take them home and find them not nearly as crisp and sweet as the conventionally grown, cheaper ones at Publix.
This remained true throughout the summer, although Publix's apples decreased in quality too, most of them coming from South America. This month, the Washington state Fujis have been harvested and primo quality has returned to the Publix apples. They are rosy red, sweet, crisp and perfect with Drunken Goat cheese, a Spanish cheese soaked in Doble Pasta wine that I've been addicted to for nearly a year. (Tip: Drunken Goat, mild and fruity for a goat cheese, is comparatively inexpensive -- especially at Whole Foods, where it costs $2 less per pound than at Alon's, my other regular source for it.)
So, I was in Whole Foods yesterday and decided to buy a few of the store's organic Fujis, fresh from Washington. Surprise, surprise. Once again, even at the peak of the season, they didn't hold a candle to Publix's apples -- from coloration to sweetness to texture. But, hey, they sure looked good in the store display.
I do not get it. The Fuji, an apple developed by the Japanese in the 1930s but not exported to the United States until the '80s, has a long shelf life, compared with other apples. What to do? As the New York Times reported recently, apples are a fruit that is particularly vulnerable to pesticide absorption, so there's plenty of incentive to go organic, even if taste isn't part of it.
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