Monday, July 28, 2008

Frank The Fruit Man

During my childhood summers my mom had a weekly visit from Frank the fruit man. Frank would ride up to the end of our driveway in his little square truck and honk his horn. His truck was packed with shelves brimming with fresh produce. There was a large, old-fashioned scale that hung in the corner by the side door.

I would get pretty excited for Frank’s visits, because it added some flavor to an otherwise ho-hum summer day. It was sort of the same enthusiasm I’d get for the ice cream truck. But that excitement quickly wore off as I stood in the sweltering heat on the steps of his hot metal truck while he and my mother talked endlessly. I would tug at my mother’s shorts in an effort to get her going, but she wouldn’t budge. I’m sure I moaned and sighed and acted like I was dying from the heat, but when my mom is gabbing there is no way of penetrating her conversation.

Finally she’d wrap things up and hand me several brown bags of plums, peaches, and corn. She’d be all smiles as we left Frank’s truck. I would vow to stay in the house the next time he came.

Recently, I took my mom to our local farm stand for some sweet corn. As we were driving home she asked if I remembered Frank’s corn-saving tip. Of course I had no idea. Did she think I actually listened to their chatter?

Well, Frank’s corn saving tip is this: If you can’t eat all the corn the same day you buy it from the farm stand, you can keep it fresh by removing all the husks, put them in a plastic bag and refrigerate. I was glad to learn this tip because I can’t tell you how many times I’ve bought corn and let it sit in the husks overnight only to find some not-so-fresh corn the next day.

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