Editor’s Mixing Bowl
In case you have not yet noticed, you have in your hands one totally fruity issue of Edible East Bay. Persimmons, cacao, olives, and a host of rare fruits make appearances on these pages. And since there’s never enough of a good thing during the celebratory season, I’ve added one more: the little apple-like things in the photo above come from the flowering quince (Chaenomeles speciosa) that grows outside my window. I’ve just learned that these fruits are as edible as their relative Cydonia oblonga, the treasure that industrious home cooks adore for its beautiful fragrance and high levels of pectin.
While editing the cover story for this issue, I found writer Jillian Steinberger’s inspired thoughts on the California Rare Fruit Growers reminding me about the value—or values—of diversity. Consuming a diverse diet of vibrant foods works to the advantage of many creatures; diversity of the gene pool works to the health of species; and diversity of species invigorates ecosystems. Likewise, as the quotation from Bill Mollison, the “father of Permaculture,” suggests, diversity of thought works to the advantage of a society trying to find solutions to its challenges.
And challenges we do have, some that are spoken of and others that are being swept under the rug.
As I write this, election season is roiling the airwaves with prospects for candidates and ballot measures alternately swelling and deflating—just as they have been for the ball clubs through the same period. It’s a pattern that exists in all of nature, and while we like to think that one leader or one law will bring more prosperity or more safety, there is never one solution. It’s the activity itself and the dialogue around it that matters.
As we prepare to celebrate our abundance through the holiday season, we can also celebrate the diversity of foods and thoughts around the table, both of which keep us healthy and vital.