WTF Is It?!? Round 4 | New Times Broward-Palm Beach

Ethical Eating

WTF Is It?!? Round 4

Rarest of the Rare

Every year around this time, I get an email from a friend obsessed with a fruit that, until recently, I'd never seen or tasted. He claims that the halcyon summers of his youth were saturated with the sugary tartness of this sublime edible. Since my friend doesn't seem to understand that there are literally hundreds of fruits and vegetables no longer available to the average consumer, thanks to corporate agribusiness, which breeds produce for characteristics that have nothing whatever to do with flavor (ie shelf-life, ease of transport, and resistance to pests), he continues to yearn for what he can't have... what he has irretrievably lost...

a foodstuff that, unless slow/local foodists have their way, will probably become extinct soon enough, along with the 97 PERCENT OF FRUITS AND VEGETABLES THAT HAVE GONE EXTINCT SINCE 1900. And then even Manhattanites haunting the greenmarkets of Union Square will remember these little darlings with nostalgia.

For now, though, anybody who visits New York City between, say, late July and early September can find them -- They're not exactly abundant, but they're here.

Anybody want to tell me WTF they are?

As usual, the winner wins the certain knowledge that he or she is smarter than at least 97 percent of all extinct vegetables.

Here ya go:

Here's how they look after a couple of days ripening in a bowl at home: