HoneyCrisp apples are available. Do you hear me, people - should I send you a text - HoneyCrisp apples are in stores now. I love, love love these apples - they are a hybrid and the best apples out there, I think. Every year I scour the stores, hunting for the precious fruits and hoarding them from the kids.
Yes, yes I hoard them from my kids. I'm a terrible person. I don't mind admitting it - at just shy of $3 a pound,I'm not giving up an apple that someone will eat a ring of flesh from the middle and toss on the floor. Yes, I rescue said apples and slice them up, and then they get eaten, but I find my kids to be happy with Pink Lady, McIntosh, Empire or Braeburn at half the price. Oddly enough, no one in my family likes the Red or Golden Delicious variety - the texture is too mealy and the flavor off.
So I realized about ten days ago that it was finally time for my beloved apples - I'll eat two or three a day, sometimes - and I got busy with the phone, trying to locate a store that had them. I found them at a chi-chi grocery in my area and decided that after I'd brought the kids home from school, I'd make a trip. The store isn't close to my house, but it was easily accessible and I was leaving for New York in a few days, so I thought I'd be practical - read cheap - and toss a few apples in my bag to eat instead of buying a meal.
This upscale store is beautiful, and the food is displayed in such a stunning manner that one could spend hours and hours looking at the cheeses, the meats, the breads and the sumptuous chocolate and coffee displays. It's also not a store that fits in my daily budget. I coached my kids before we even went in,"Now, listen, guys - we are going for apples for Mommy. That's it. Don't ask for other things, we won't be getting them.This store is kind of expensive." Three pairs of eyes met mine, three heads nodded in solemn acceptance. I planned to be in the store just long enough to get my apples and get out.
We walked in and made a beeline for the apples. My kids were enchanted by the displays, and my new reader called out the names, Courtland! Pink Lady! Granny Smith! and then it started. My son gave me the puppy dog look and sighed. "I just love apples so much, Mom", he said. I know, he really does - he could eat as many apples as I can, several a day. We didn't have any at home, so I nodded and said, "Ok, you can pick two."
He whooped and shouted and got right down to the business of selecting just the right apple. My daughter pulled on my sleeve and whispered something I couldn't hear, and I leaned down. "I need an apple for school for Johnny Appleseed day," she told me, and I remembered the email for the event, scheduled while I was away. I nodded at her and, looking at my third, still mostly silent child, I said, "You can each pick two." Shouts of delight were heard, and I picked my apples in peace as they contemplated the many varieties offered and weighed the merits of each version. My fussy eater looked longingly at the oranges that she had just discovered were not, in fact, full of poison and said, "Mommy, when we go to a cheaper store, can we get oranges? They were so yummy at soccer." I sighed and said, "Pick two."
The huge hug I got made it - almost- worth it, and her sister gave me a pleading look, and I acquiesced. Ok. I had my apples, and they had, between the three of them, six apples and four oranges. We looked at the other fresh offerings, while my son tried to convince me that he has, indeed, eaten artichokes and loved them - which, no, he hasn't, since he never eats without me or a food that I've made him due to his allergies - and my girls professed love for butternut squash and broccoli. Correct on both accounts. They were so, so happy with their fruit choices and we talked for a minute about the different vitamins in different foods and why fruits and vegetables are so good for a person. We made a mental shopping list of fresh produce that we'd buy on our next trip.
As we walked off, an older woman tapped me on the shoulder and I turned to speak with her. "I've been watching you with your kids, and I just wanted to tell you that I think you are amazing. So patient with your kids, and I loved listening to you talk to them as if they were adults. And I was so happy to see how much they love fruit and vegetables. So nice to see, when most kids are eating their weight in sugar." Embarrassed but proud, I stuttered my thanks and looked for my kids...
who were found in front of the giant, head-sized lollipops on display, arguing bitterly over who was going to get which one.
Oh well, feeling like a good parent was fun while it lasted.