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  • KitchenBeard

Coming to Jesus

I recently signed up,for a new fruit and vegetable delivery service after reading about it in the SFGate. The article talks about a guy nicknamed Fruit Jesus. His real name is Konstantin Kosov, known for his flowing mane of hair and equally flowing beard. His business model before the pandemic was to hit the farmers markets and buy the fruit that was in season and deliver it to the offices downtown by bike. With the onset of the pandemic, his business understandably collapsed but the article mentioned he had pivoted and found a new way to get fruit out to the masses. You can read the story in the article.

I signed up. I was thinking I had gained 15 pounds since the onset of this new normal and I wanted to support a small business struggling to make a future for himself. I'm finding joy in helping others while our world is so horrifying. If I can ferry my money to someone like this, then I'm supporting small business and not the corporations.

I signed up at FruitRollUp and a few days later we checked in on texts and set up a time for delivery. The day for delivery came and went and I heard nothing. The next day he texted and apologized. This was a personal text and not some bot generated by a marketing department apology. We set up a new time. He was late. He was apologetic and visibly stressed. I assured him that I knew how it was to run your own business when everything is going wrong and that I had assumed that it was growing pains after the article. "You'll figure it out." I said. The next delivery was better and the next delivery after that was right on time.

He's figuring it out.

He shows up with a large box full of fruit and greens that is fresh and seasonal. I've also gotten eggs and cheese. Often I find that I may not know what a particular piece is. We’re in stone fruit season right now in San Francisco and often in the box there are types I’m relishing because I’ve never seen them before, let alone cooked with them. There’s also figs and happily a lettuce mix this week of varietals I hadn’t seen in a while. Cresses, romaines and arugula blended together. Deliciously bitter and grassy. The price I'm paying for my box is markedly less than what I'd pay for the same or less interesting ingredients in a grocery store. Also, part of me is loving that I have to pick up each leaf and each stem and each piece of fruit to examine it before washing, cutting and using. It forces me to be more connected to my ingredients in my hands. It forces me to think about how to use it best. It forces me to be creative.

I have to admit it’s also forcing me to be more deliberate on how I handle the contents because this is fresh, unpreserved, untreated food that spoils quickly if I don’t take care of it or eat it. My first week, I thought I could store the fruit on the counter in a pastoral, sun dappled, still life arrangement like I normally do. I was embarrassed to wake up a few days later to an infestation of fruit flies and brown mushy fruit and my inner chef chastising me about storing fruit wrong. I learned my lesson. Since then, I keep everything covered and in the fridge and it lasts much longer and I'm reminded of how fruit in grocery stores is treated with chemicals so it doesn't spoil. I'm finding I'm being more mindful of what I have on hand.

But about those fifteen pounds and eating everything before it goes bad. This is forcing me to eat healthier and with more intention. It’s forcing me to think about how to take advantage of preserving techniques. The salad in the picture is made up of several small containers from my fridge. The last of the figs. The last of one of the bags of greens. Some pork belly from last night that had been cooked with plums from last week's box. Some other random bits getting used up to make room in the fridge for this week's box. Beautiful, fresh, delicious ingredients in a vibrant salad that doesn’t need a dressing except some salt and a sprinkle of lemon juice.

Konstantin is an entrepreneur and so am I. Our first couple of deliveries were a bit of a mash of scrambled communication and laughing at what I’d made. I get it. There’s a learning curve during a plague. I'm going through a similar learning curve. But he’s learning his customers and his suppliers and things are smoothing out. I am too. I'm grateful for all of it. Now when he shows up I show him pictures of what I've made. It reminds me I’m healthy and housed and employed with opportunities coming my way. It reminds me to be kind and understanding as others find their way.

So this week, I've got some grapes that I need to use up. I'm considering adding it to a pork roast or trying my hand at drying raisins or mushing them up into a sourdough starter. Or I might pour a glass of wine, and set out some cheese and prosciutto and go sit in the backyard.. grateful for everything I have.

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