I call them the Iffy Grocer. Just outside of my subway exit, they have colorful produce piled up high on makeshift stands encroaching on the sidewalk. Commuters are drawn to the small green grocer by the festively colored produce and cheap prices. Upon closer inspection, though, you realize that the produce can be beyond questionable: Their corn might be 99 cents a ear, but they might be (seemingly) a month or two old, their kernels shriveled, husk dry and brown; $1.29 bunch of asparagus might have the withered spear tops crumbling off the stalks, if not practically melting off in rotten ooze.
I’ve wondered in earnest, more than once, how in the world they think they can sell dried out blueberries, rotting zucchini, moldy tomatoes and peaches that are nothing but bruises and [fill in the blank]. Shopping there certainly takes open eyes, but I do stop by there occasionally, mainly for convenience–and for the things that are okay, which is about half the stuff they have. (I guess that’s the Iffy Grocer’s business model.)
The other day, I stopped in for a 99-cent pack of strawberries. (Ugh, this was a bad idea that looked okay–these strawberry had a strange chemical sting that I couldn’t have known from their looks. Hubby was unhappy; so was I.) While waiting in the line for the cashier, I picked up a pear I’d never seen before, out of curiosity. It had the yellowish green skin similar to D’Anjous, but was much, much bumpier, which gave it the look of an heirloom fruit from an old gnarly tree in an old farmer’s backyard in rural France or something. Except it was from Argentina. Whatever. It smelled good, so I took a bet on it.
It took almost a whole week on the counter to fully ripen, but once it got there, it was phenomenal.
The “Beckham’s Triumph Red Five” (as the little tiny PLU sticker on it proclaimed) was pretty similar to my favorite pear variety, the Comice. It was soft, super-juicy, sweet and full of peary perfume. It didn’t taste as distinctive as the bumpy surface suggested, but it was delicious nonetheless. I went to Dr. Google to see what this pear’s weird name was all about, and got this:
Helpful. I tried various other combinations of search terms, and came up with exactly zero (other than learning that yes, the British soccer star likes his Triumph motorcycle). I have absolutely no idea what this pear variety is, whether it’s something I’ll have another chance of encountering, and what other varieties it’s similar to, etc. It’s a tasty mystery.
- Peanut butter toast
- Scrambled eggs with bacon, roasted eggplant & roasted peppers
- Mystery pear (Beckham’s Triumph Red Five)