Everyone knows I’m a girl who loves her produce. I’m pretty sure I’ve said this before, many times. I enjoy being around the produce section in grocery stores, watching old men flick or “thump” fruit as they say to make sure it’s fresh enough. I like to watch little old women rub apples on their old, hairy sweaters. I like to watch children eat watermelons and really believe that a watermelon is going to grow in their tummy when they not-so-accidentally swallow one of the seeds. I especially love the drippy, red, fruit-vampire face my nephew gets after eating watermelon. I just really enjoy produce, and it’s probably why I’ve spent almost two years of my life, in both college and high school working at a grocery store. Even though everyone knows the best fruit is found at the NC flea market. Anyhow, this post is about more then just fruit, but to begin with, I’m obsessed with a fruit here called “black currants.” Until tonight, I thought black current was just another name for a pomegranate because I’m forever drinking apple-pom juice, but it’s not, so apple, black-currant must just taste similar. Unfortunately for US citizens the US banned the fruit in the early 20th century because black currant shrubs can host and spread a disease, the “white pine blister rust”, which threatened the booming timber industry in the early 1900s.
Everyone also knows that I’m obsessed with history. So, this little fact made me enjoy drinking apple-black currant juice even more. On top of that, black currant has more than 4 times the Vitamin C of oranges so it’s huge in European countries because during World War II there was a huge shortage of Oranges (because they were shipped from enemy countries, ummm…who wasn’t an enemy in WWII, come on) and so black currants became wildly popular. In 1996, the Federal government lifted the ban and made it possible for states to make the choice whether to grow black currants or not. In 2003, NY decided black currants were a viable source of calcium and an important fruit and so they are no wildly popular in NY. However, most other states have decided not to plant black currants and this is what this blog is about today.
I want to bring the black currant back to America. Yes, me, tiny curly haired girl of a whole five foot two inches of stout and angryness. There is a limited time that Pomegranates are available (and I will be gone in Australia during those months feasting off the lovely black currants) and so I will need something to replace my pomegranate needs (Indian apples as my grandfather used to call them) and so I’d like that to be black currants. Now, you may think that I could just send some over like wine and ship them on in to the US and plant them in my parent’s backyard (because Lord knows I’m not getting in trouble for planting a foregin plant) and then sell them around until they were the new farming craze in NC (and everyone knows we need a new farming craze because tobacco is on the outs with the prices going higher and higher and all the warnings and now Tobacco companies aren’t even allowed to put “light” on the box, even though that’s massively confusing to cashiers, like me, who can barely find the right cigarettes for people anyway soooo) black currants, the new fruit of the south.
Last time I came home from Australia, I brought my dad Australian plant seeds, and hid them in my bag. Well, not really because I didn’t know it was illegal to bring in foreign plants to the country and so he was forced to hide them behind the cookie jar at home and let me think that he planted them and they just didn’t grow. But I eat cookies, I know the truth. So, bringing black currants from over here is illegal. But I need the juice. So, farmers, smoothie-makers, health freaks, vitamin C inadequate people…stand up for a new fruit of choice and make me and other pomegranate loving child happy by making your new fruit of choice the black currant.
Oh, and I will make change imminent, as Obama said.