Those Mysterious Fruit on the Tree

I received this inquiry regarding my new book, GO, GO, GRAPES: A Fruit Chant:

Dear Ms. Sayre,
Would you kindly tell me what kind of fruit is pictured on the page that reads: “treats from trees and from the land”?
My son keeps asking me and I don’t know the answer. We think they look a bit like pears but I don’t think pears grow in threes that way. ..
 Thank you,
Julie and son, you are right. Those three are pears. I checked with the orchard owner but he’s not sure exactly what variety they are. I agree they are unusual in shape!


Jeff and I were first introduced to this fruit on a long guided bus ride through Ecuador. The driver stopped by a fruit stand, bought some cherimoya, cut it up and offered it to all the passengers. The flesh was white, creamy, sweet, and delicious. It was somewhere between a pudding and a banana in texture. I don’t know how good cherimoyas that arrive here in the states are. But they would be worth a try.

Their closest relatives in the U.S. are our native Paw Paw fruit. Both have creamy flesh. Here’s a little info about the fruit from the cherimoya page provided by rare fruit growers of California. 

I have heard this fruit’s name pronounced both CHEER-i-moy-a   and also CHER-i-moy-a.


Durian Fruit: The Smelly Prize

Durian, oh prickly one. Here’s a photo of the durian that the kind folks at Saigon Market allowed me to create in the back of their store. When I created this photo, it was in a stanza that involved crates. So I did a lot of durian hefting and rearranging. Yet we changed the stanza and ended up using a much earlier photo I took when I first saw durian in their store, side-by-side with persimmons.

The durian in the photo have been kept cool, even frosty, so they don’t have the characteristic durian stink. They are heavy, bigger than footballs, and tough on the hands if you handle them without the netting.

These fruit have the same kind of reputation as limburger cheese. The fruit is so stinky that there are signs on some trains in southeast Asia banning people from carrying durian onboard! My friends Candace and George bought one. Okay, so they kept it in their cool garage for several days. They’d go out, now and then, scoop out some fruit and eat it. They said it was delicious. But the thing was too stinky to have in their kitchen. My friends Andrea and Donnie who bought durian cookies, opened the package, and the smell that wafted out was so intense that they ran and threw the package outside their door.

Candace said she’d be happy to buy a durian fruit to bring to a launch party for Go, Go, Grapes: a Fruit Chant which comes out on May 22nd. I, on the other hand, would actually like some people to stay at the party so I’m vetoing the idea. Of course, we could put it out on the porch, I suppose…

The Huckleberry Confusion

The Huckleberry Confusion—is it a novel? No. It’s just that huckleberry is a slippery word. It refers to various berries of the Vaccinium genus. (Blueberries are also in the Vaccinium genus.) In the western U.S., folks call some wild blueberries “huckleberries.” There are cultivated huckleberries, which are a deep blue and taste a bit less sweet than regular blueberries. (Note that the sign in the picture says they are for cooking.) Some berries called “huckleberries” are red in color. Huckleberry is a common and confusing name—for sure. These may mostly be the same genus, but they are different species.

In between signings at American Library Association in 2011 I was thrilled to find huckleberries at a the Crescent City Farmer’s Market in New Orleans. Unfortunately, because of the rhyme they were in, I had to package them up to take home and combine with the other fruit in a photo for that page. Alas, with all the ALA festivities, I left those huckleberries in the hotel fridge and huckleberries aren’t available here at my market, so they did not make it into Go, Go, Grapes: a Fruit Chant. Sorry, huckleberry fans. Here’s my quick snaps of huckleberries in the New Orleans market. 

Go, Go, Grapes: a Fruit Chant

Rah, rah, raspberries! Go, go, grapes! Prepare yourselves. Go, Go, Grapes: a Fruit Chant will be released May 22, 2012.  I’m proud of the luscious photos, which were taken primarily at our local farmer’s market, small grocery stores in our town, and a few markets I visited on travels. Several fruit parties had to be held to munch all the fruit I purchased from friendly fruit folk!

Learning Fruits and French

Last summer we visited the Jean-Talon Market in Montréal. Don’t go too early, as we did, because most of the farmers arrive a bit later than our farmers here in the Midwest. But wow, the displays are amazing.

Next to the boxes of lychees, were Cape gooseberries, which come in husks like tomatillos. It is related to the tomatillo and tomato.

Here’s the wikipedia on this fruit.

Also, enjoy a few more photos from the market:




What’s Hiding in Go, Go, Grapes: a Fruit Chant

Try hunting for these vegetables, words, and objects that appear in the photos with fruit.

A red checkered tablecloth

A molcajete, a large stone version of a mortar and pestle. I bought this one at El Paraiso, a small grocery featuring items for Mexican recipes. I also bought the guavas there.

Cactus pads, which are not the fruits, but leaves, of a cactus plant

Hanging scale

The Spanish word “piña” which means pineapple.

A half bushel of corn

Yellow tomatoes and green tomatoes

Two honeydew melons

Roma tomatoes

The word “Niagara”


Really hard to find:

At least 40 onions

A half bushel of tomatoes

Jalapeño peppers