My Asian Pear Dealer

I’ve written before about the amazing farmer’s market we have in my current city of residence. I’ve gotten into a routine where I go there every week as close to opening as I can, buy whatever fruit is in season (peaches in the Summer, apples in the fall) some salad things, eggs if I’m going to be baking, and then I get out of there before I get persuaded to buy things I really don’t need but which are delicious.

But there’s a problem with this. The Asian pear dealer.

One week in October, I’m walking through (our city has also stupidly inserted parking meters all around the market, so I try to get in and out as fast as I can) and there’s hardly anyone there yet. I had already bought a box of honeycrisp apples and was looking to see who had the best price on turnips when an older Asian gentleman steps into my path holding a pear. “Would you like to try an Asian pear, miss?” he asks. A whole pear. I mean, I’ve been offered slices of fruit before, but never a whole damn pear. I go to the market before breakfast, so I was in no position to say no. I thanked him and took the pear as he explained to me that all his produce is completely organic and that the fruit will say fresh in my refrigerator for a long time.

The pear was delicious, of course, and the man had given me a whole pear for free, so I felt obligated. Plus, there were no other customers around, so it wasn’t like I could just sneak away while he was distracted by someone else. Fine. I spent $4.50 I really shouldn’t have on a box of Asian pears.

Which were delicious. Seriously, I can’t tell you how amazing these freaking pears are. I’m not even crazy about pears, but these things were life changing.

So the next week I go back determined I’m just there for apples and some smoked cheddar if the Amish cheese people are up and running (they weren’t) and maybe a black bean and goat cheese tamale if the tamale vendor* is open (he wasn’t). And as I’m walking through I see the pear dealer. And I remember how wonderful those pears are. And even though I still had a few left, the market will soon be closed for the season and I won’t be able to buy any for months. And he says they keep in the refrigerator for a long time…

So I bought another box of pears.

That was the trend for the rest of the run of the market. Every week, I bought a box of pears from that man. Sometimes he threw in a couple extras from his secret box of not-pretty-but-still-delicious pears.

And then it occurs to me that this man stole his technique from drug dealers. Sure, the first pear is free—that’s how they get you hooked. Now I’m addicted. Problem is, the market is closed for the season and I just ate my last pear. Oh sure, they sell them at Kroger, but are they going to be as good? Of course not. What am I going to do?

Give me a month and I’m gonna be lurking in dark alleys buying contraband pears off some guy in a trenchcoat. Dammit.

*They aren’t real tamales. They’re what Midwestern gourmet snobs think tamales are. But they’re still good.

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