Producing Your Produce
The argument over the organic vs. conventional is hardly something we’ll sort out in my little column, but I will tell you one thing from personal experience: when it comes to fruit, fresher is better!
If you are lucky enough to live in an area that supports a farmer’s market, make yourself and your partner(s) that much luckier by having a look at their offerings. Many fruits picked the night before, at optimum ripeness, are almost another fruit altogether from their grocery-store, trucked-for-miles, plastic-encased cousins.
Farmer’s markets are often cheaper — great for lovers on a budget! — and you don’t have to be as fruit-savvy to get good produce there. Since farmers are setting up that morning and their reputation is on the table, you’re unlikely to see anything but their very best. Besides, if you’re in doubt about just how ripe you should buy a fruit for your date in two days, who better to ask than the farmer who grew it?
Selecting the Menu
Fruit is an extraordinarily large category of food, and most of us (myself included, until recently) find a few we like and rarely explore other options. It can be even trickier trying to select things that might support a romp in the sack, so here are a few to get you started:
• Strawberries: This one should come as no surprise, especially to my geek brethren who watch Firefly. With their sensuous shape, easy “handle” to pinch while feeding to someone else, and relative cheapness, these are the go-to date fruit for a reason. You don’t need to do much; grab a tub of Cool Whip for some extra fun, and depending on your diet(s), if you grab the fat-free or sugar-free version, you can go guilt-free, too.
• Raspberries: Is there anything more sensual than truly ripe, incredibly sweet raspberries? Again, use your tactile senses — the larger ones can be fit onto a fingertip...
• Plums: This is the only stone fruit I love so much I’ll eat it at my desk, despite the mess. If you’re into sticky, messy sex, it’s a jackpot. As long as you aren’t worried about staining clothes or sheets, make a show of that wine-red juice dripping down your chin — or lick it off your sweetie as they dine.
• Chocolate: Although not a fruit, of course, it’s easy to bump most fruits up to heavenly levels with it. A simple condiment cup of chocolate syrup for dipping can do the trick, or you could drizzle bittersweet melted chocolate over berries for an enticing (and wonderfully sticky) presentation. Small, roughly-broken squares of high-quality chocolate can also be a great accompaniment to an otherwise fruit-only arrangement.
Putting It All Together
If you’re looking for a date with a little more flair than pigging out on sensuous fruits, try a little “French picnic.” Select a few good cheeses, some classy crackers or baguettes, a suitable wine if you drink and a nice “something sparkly” if you don’t, and make a plate of fruit to go along with it. Spread a sheet or tablecloth on the floor, where you can take advantage of the air conditioning, and see what happens!
This is an especially flexible concept to suit your particular budget and taste. Ten years ago, I would have done this with Triscuits and squeeze cheese; now, I’m all about the brie and pepper crackers. Whatever you choose, though, consider picking up fresh basil on your fruit run — a leaf added to your cracker-and-cheese nibble is outrageously good.
...And An Afterword
For those of us who don’t go crazy on fruit all that often, a few words of caution apply. Some fruits wreak havoc on digestion — bananas, for example, tend to cause constipation, while berries eaten to excess have the opposite effect. Remember to indulge in moderation, and as with everything else, it’s a good idea to check in with your bed buddy to make sure they don’t have any known sensitivities.
You’ll also want to clean up any pits, skins, or the like fairly quickly — perhaps after your romp in the bed, but before you go to sleep. If you are without air conditioning, the leavings of ripe fruit can start to turn unpleasantly aromatic very quickly. Leftovers can also attract pesky, hard-to-eradicate fruit flies, and once a cat has kept you up all night by batting an errant cherry pit all over every inch of hardwood floor available, you’ll never make that mistake again!