I splurged on some persimmons this weekend. The orange sweet flesh tastes like fall to me.
It also tastes like home. Buying this fruit reminds me of the orchards near my dad’s house in northern California, and an excursion a few years back with TaliaStar, to pick some in Penryn, along with bags of tangerines. Delicious. California’s year-round growing seasons still cannot bend to the seasonal delights of persimmons — like fall candy!
And here they are in Stockholm, as we are closing in on winter. I bought California raisins here this weekend too. But these persimmons, like a lot of fruit here, probably came from South Africa. (The same was true in Zurich, particularly in winter, where the string beans came from Egypt, and the spinach from Italy, almost all year round.) And the sweet snap peas I am buying for snacks and salads are from Kenya. Kenya! Plums have popped up from Italy, which must still be warm, and a lot of citrus and other vegetables from Spain.
My friend Jordi is living in Spain for the year with his family. He told me recently that he has heard people in Spain complain that they can’t get good oranges and tomatoes anymore: the good stuff all goes for export.
That reminded me about de facto water exports. With their low rates of rainfall and the possibility of water shortages looming as climate changes, these fruit-basket countries are sending their water in the form of fruit and vegetables abroad — including to Sweden, the land of 100,000 lakes.
The irony is rich. But I really want to keep eating like I could in California! And so I will continue to feel guilty about my food miles while I pop sweet peas from Kenya into my mouth, and persimmons from South Africa…