Even in China, you can find “organic” fruit being touted, though Thom and I know it probably comes from the same field by the highway just like all fruit. That being said, we really can’t see paying 3x the price for the organic label so, after trying it both ways, we went back to buying from our local fruit lady in our neighborhood.
Every day, from morning to late at night, she sits on the corner by our apartment selling fruit out of the back of her van. Assisted by probably family, they weigh the produce and bargain with you on the price, sometimes throwing in an extra banana or two if they overcharge. When Thom buys, this is always what happens because he hates to bargain.
The fruit tastes delicious and, if it is raised in contaminated soil with the aid of polluted water then so be it. As Fiona, our language teacher has taught us, “In China you can die fast or you can die slow-you pick.”. If the fruit doesn’t kill us, all the carbs we eat will so it’s time to enjoy a juicy peach and throw caution to the wind.
Our fruit lady was anxious to know if James was our son. She pointed to him and then to us with a big smile. Yes-we were blessed with a son, which always goes over big here. Of course, we have a gorgeous daughter as well but here in China, the message is always clear-boys are special and men are in charge.
When we were at Tai Chi, after class we lingered to chat with the fellow participants. The ladies were off talking while Thom and I talked to the guys. They immediately turned to Thom and asked what he did for a living. Smiling his huge grin, Thom loves to tell people, “I follow her and support her” pointing to me. The dudes let that sink in and then their eyes turned to me. “What do YOU do?”. I don’t believe I’ve ever had a man or woman turn to me FIRST when I’m with Thom to ask why we had moved to China. They ALWAYS assume it is for Thom’s career. Just a cultural thing that I’ve gotten used to here.
My fruit lady is also in charge at her job and works so hard to sell her produce but always has a smile on her face. She’s an excellent business woman who understands customer service and that the little things matter like the extra banana thrown in the bag for regular customers or that offering a sample of the grapes will yield larger sales. Kudos to you, my dear! You work hard for your money and deserve every RMB you get from Thom–I’m actually okay that he doesn’t bargain with you. I’m sticking with you for my fruit, even if it kills me.