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It all begins with a piece of fruit


ONLY those who work in aid organisations or supermarkets truly feel the world. Aid workers live and breathe the needs and aspirations of communities across the globe simply by being there with them; while supermarket workers are in daily contact with their produce, placing it with thanks on English shelves.

By the time the bus stops are restless with the morning rush, I have smelt and felt the five continents. I go around the world in two hours with only vegetables for company. It’s exhilarating stuff.

Where to start? Perhaps in East Africa, the cradle of the world, represented by some fine salad onions from Kenya. But don’t forget South Africa — and, more specifically, their grapes, peaches, and apricots. Back up north, one can find the large and magnificent Egyptian strawberries leaving Cairo for colder climes. They may stop over in Morocco, however, to pick up the organic tenderstems.

We will next leap down to Australia to collect their gorgeous blueberries, now declared “a super food”. Well, at that price, they had better be. But we can’t stay there; so, healthy but poorer, we swim to South America to collect mangoes from Brazil, pineapples from Costa Rica, asparagus spears from Peru, red cherries from Argentina, and avocados from Chile.

We then go completely bananas in St Lucia, gather limes and raspberries in Mexico, and allow the United States to tempt us with that most seductive apple — the Pink Lady. We are also committed Europeans, ever eager for Dutch pears, Portugal’s new potatoes, Spain’s peppers, broccoli florets and organic garlic, Italy’s organic pears, and those crisp green Granny Smiths from France.

But, being religious folk, we pause on the sixth day, and make a special pilgrimage to Israel to ponder the holy sites — and to collect their baby cherry tomatoes.

If the produce comes from England, the packaging tells us both the county and the name of the farmer. So, for instance, Max Howard in Nottinghamshire provides our carrots, Wayne Somers from Somerset our brown-cap mushrooms, and Brian Hepburn from the Highlands our organic parnips. There’s also a farmer called “Hinge” from Kent whose first name doesn’t appear. Why this is, I don’t know. Perhaps it’s deliberate; like Morse, or he may be a man of mystery.

The Band Aid single invites us to feed the world, but the world appears to be feeding us. Another nectarine?

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