When I’m working the Green City Market, it’s always better to catch me early in the morning.

But not too early or I’m cranky. Or eating my breakfast. Or blogging in my head.

You know, on second thought maybe it’s better not to catch me. A young woman asked me in the market’s first hours this morning: “Do you know what the difference is between these Asian pears?”

“Honestly, it’s been since last year that I tried them and I can’t remember.”

“I know you don’t like Asian pears.”

“You know that? Oh, that’s right. We’ve discussed this before.”Maybe I overshare at the market sometimes.

I also admit that I get a kick out of seeing people’s reaction to my telling them that I don’t care for a certain fruit. Not that it happens much.  And not that they should care what I like and don’t like.

About midway through the market, a woman came up to me. “I’d like some HoneyCrisps, please.” I reached for a basket while she asked me: “Do you like them or do you hate them?”

“Um . . . neither.”

“Because I figure you must either love them or you’re sick to death of people freaking out about them.”

“Well  . . .  let me put it this way. I could probably take home as many as I want, and I don’t take any home.”

She nodded. Then she told me she had dragged herself to the farmers’ market with a hangover to get some HoneyCrisps. I did meet a woman who didn’t like HoneyCrisps. For a second I was elated.  So what was her favorite apple?  “I really like those Red Delicious!”

The what?

“You know, Red Delicious.”

“Well, I’m with you on the HoneyCrisps, but I don’t know if I can go along with you on the Red Delicious.”

I told her our Red Delicious would be along in a week or two. Meanwhile, I showed her something in the Gala department — namely, the Galas. Then I saw my chance. I wasn’t willing to write her off just yet. I grabbed a Golden Supreme out of a bin behind me — yellow, crispy and sweet with a subtly spicy flavor — and put it in her bag. “Can I give you this apple? Maybe you’ll like them and come back and want more.”

She thanked me.

Toward the end of the market, two women came up within seconds of each other and asked if we had HoneyCrisps. We had already sold out. “Oh, that’s the only reason I came to the market!” one woman said.

“Well, would you like to try a slice of something else?” I asked.

“Do you have anything that’s like a HoneyCrisp?” she asked.

There is no way I am describing any apple as being kind of like a HoneyCrisp. Are you kidding me? I’d sooner answer the question “So, is there anybody kind of like Jesus?”

I cut each woman a slice of Jonagold.

“That’s that’s not bad,” said one woman. “It’s kind of like a HoneyCrisp.”

“No,” said the other woman. “It’s not at all like them. I’m sorry, but it’s not.”

“Oh.” The first woman seemed slightly chastised.

The next thing that happened was I zoned out and flashed to my dinner the night before at Mado while the two women went back and forth in rapturous joy about their love for HoneyCrisps. One of them — the one who wasn’t crazy about the Jonagolds — eventually bought some apples and left. The second woman didn’t leave. “Wow. I’m really disappointed. I mean, I came here just for the HoneyCrisp.”

I flailed my hands above my head and replied in exasperation: “Sadly, we only have nine other kinds of apples today!”

“And you don’t have anything like a HoneyCrisp?”

“Well, I gave you a slice of something else that might be a little like it.”

“Yeah,” she said. “I know. Is it like a HoneyCrisp?”

“I don’t know. I mean, you tasted it. Did you like it?”

“It was pretty good. Can you tell me what other kinds of apples you have?”

“Starting on that far end of the table, we have Jonathan, Mutsu, RedCort, Macintosh, Paula Red, Senshu, Golden Supreme, Jonagold, and Gala.”

She took this all in but said nothing. “Do you know what all of those apples have in common?” I asked her.

“No,” she said.

“None of them is the HoneyCrisp.”

She asked for a second slice of the Jonagold. I cut her a piece of the apple. She chewed it and stood there. We may have continued talking. I couldn’t tell you. That dinner at Mado was really good.

The shadows grew long and the sun melted into the horizon. Night fell. Summer turned to autumn. The leaves fell from the trees. Autumn turned to winter. That’s when she made her decision:  “I guess I’ll take some of those. What are they called?”



“Thanks. Enjoy your apples.”

A few minutes later I asked Peter: “How did I do markets five times a week the first year I worked for you?”

“Well, you weren’t jaded.” 

I usually pretend not to care which apples people like. But obviously I can only do that if they like the right apples.