Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Lessons from the Produce Aisle.

Okay, I am about to make an embarrassing confession. I am 47 years old (that’s not the embarrassing part), and until yesterday, I had no idea how to select good fruit. Growing up, I never went grocery shopping with my mother. And also, I never quite learned how to cook. My dad was the ultimate “foodie” and hosted several gourmet club dinners at our home. I know firsthand that there is no such thing as a “cooking gene.” My local fire department knows that too after my salmon fiasco. (That’s another story)….

Yesterday, I met Frank, the delightful produce manager at my grocery store. I put on my reading glasses to get a closer look at the pluots. Overcome by curiosity, I just had to ask, “What are these things?” He leaned against the mop and smiled. “Those are sweeter than the plumbs.” He then showed me the different varieties – the dinosaur egg type and the deep purple ones which reminded me of a smurf’s hairdo, only smooth and pointy.

Frank has worked in produce for 45 years at the same grocery store chain, and I was so happy that he took the time to share his knowledge. “Have you seen the grapes yet? They’re on special and are really good.” I walked around the colorful assortment of fruit on the table. “Here, try this one.” He pulled a grape out of the plastic bag. At first I looked around for a veggie and fruit spray to “wash” the grape, but then realized I was with a seasoned professional. I plopped the grape in my mouth. It was delicious. “Always sample a grape before you buy the bag.” Frank reassured me. “It’s okay. And also you can take some grapes from one bag and put them into another.” I was shocked. I never would have thought of this. These fruits are not considered “pre-packaged” so it’s not like you’re opening a bag of chips to mix it with another bag.

We then went to the apricot section. “Choose one that has a blush to it. That means there is more sugar content and it will be sweeter.” He then lifted a plump peach that was next to the apricots. “See, you can see where there was a leaf that covered most of this peach from the sun. Only a small part of it is pink.” He was right. The leaf had left a large tan line as if wearing a one piece instead of a bikini while ripening on the tree.

What a great lesson in faith! If we are covered in the fig leaves of our humanity, trying to hide ourselves from the Son, we will not get pink. The sweetness of God’s grace will not fully ripen. Our faith will be more tart. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.” Galations 5:22

Let’s choose to be pink!

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