I am completely in awe of the amazing blogs being created. The brilliant photography! The witty, genius writing! One such blog chronicles a Swedish couple, their daughter, and their six-month culinary and cultural voyage around the world. A guest writer from Asia posted pictures on their blog of this improbably bizarre fruit called dragonfruit. I had never heard of such a thing! Shaped like an alien flower bud, its exterior is a vivid gaudy fuchsia and its interior is polka-dotted white and black. Visions of an 80’s outfit I wore in high school scarily come to mind. My husband said he had tried the fruit before but I have never in my life seen it. Duly inspired, I took off laptop in tow to a coffee shop to get my thoughts together and plan my own brilliant blog. While there, I searched the CSA database to find a Friday farmer’s market. I found a Friday farmer’s market in Flagler Beach. Coincidentally, my husband surprised me last October with a romantic birthday weekend at Flagler Beach. We stayed in a magical bed and breakfast owned by a most genial couple. Suddenly I had unfolding before me a day at a lovely beach AND a new farmer’s market! I burned my tongue slurping down my coffee, packed up my things and raced back home to pick up the family and get on the road. Flagler Beach is an hour and a half drive from Orlando but the boys napped blissfully and we got to listen to Brian Ferry in peace the entire way there. The bridge over the intercoastal dropped us on a quaint beachside town square unfolding toward the blue Atlantic and occupied by perhaps a dozen white tents covering a plethora of colorful wares.
We hurried the boys out of the car promising them a festival and then the beach (Little white lies are a mere survival tool at this point in our lives. One does not reason with toddlers). After a quick survey (again, casual meandering does not figure in with toddlers in tow), we entered the largest of the fruit and vegetable stands. One of the first things my eyes landed on was a plastic bag only partially obscuring the oblong, fuchsia object about the size of an orange inside. I could hardly believe the day’s serendipity! Dragonfruit! One lonely specimen but mine nonetheless. A $3.50 treasure!
I asked the stand’s proprietor where it came from and with a shrug of her shoulders she said Miami. Tropical Miami may or may not be an appropriate climate for the fruit of a cactus. A topic for future exploration. So we wrapped up our shopping, schlepped everything to the beach. After settling under our umbrella I got out a paper plate and plastic knife and whacked unceremoniously into my prized fruit to taste it.
Yes, future posts will explore my congenital lack of patience. What did it taste like? Drum roll please…not much of anything. The flesh was mildly sweet, a drier version of the confounding soft and crunchy texture of kiwi but no explosion of violently complex perfumed tropical nectar promised by the gaudy exterior. Oh well. For all I know it had spent the last four weeks in a cargo hold being gassed to keep from rotting. Sigh. But what an incredibly lovely fruit! I refuse to lose my enthusiasm over one example. I know when fresh and chilled (and eaten under a palm tree on a Balinese island) it must taste better so I’m not going to write it off just yet. I just need to find a more local source. Or better yet, go to the source. And anyway, how can I deny the joy in this completely serendipitous day?
This website for a company based in California has a really interesting description of the fruit: http://www.tradewindsfruit.com/dragon_fruit.htm
Closer to home, here’s a place in Miami that offers an enormous variety of exotic fruit: http://www.tropicalfruitnursery.com/index.htm. This culinary adventuress may have a field trip to Miami coming up soon!
The impetus for day of the dragonfruit: Green Kitchen Stories http://www.greenkitchenstories.com