I went to Kroger today, hoping to grab a can of tea. Deciding that I should probably also grab some sort of foodstuff for breakfasting, I started to wander the fruit section. I grabbed a lovely Bartlett pear at $1.79/lb, making it 75 cents.
And then I spotted a dragonfruit. It had no label indicating the price per pound, but I guessed the whole thing would cost $5. It rang up for $9.99 and as a “pitahaya”. First of all, I had no idea dragonfruit had some other name. Second of all, I’ve never paid $10 for a single piece of fruit. I called the self-checkout clerk over, just to have her confirm it, and she said it was right. It didn’t give me a price per pound, only a flat price. She was bug-eyed over it. “It’s sort of like you’re dreaming when something rings up like that,” she remarked, clearing it off my ticket.
I don’t doubt that the price was right–it’s a rare bird, after all. But dang. I really want to enjoy some dragonfruit, and I haven’t seen it at any grocery stores around here, but I’m also not willing to spend dinner portion prices on my breakfast.
I know I’m way weird about food prices. If that were cut, cleaned dragonfruit presented nicely in a plate with some other complementary delights, I’d probably pay the $10 and think nothing of it. But it’s a piece of fruit for chrissakes! I just paid $0.75 for an organic pear–what gives?
Oh Lord. It’s time for me to do some begrudging research, isn’t it?
Typically grown in Southeast Asian countries, this fruit cannot produce fruit through self-fertilization and relies on nocturnal creatures to do its pollinating. It can’t handle freezing temperatures. According to Wikipedia, “there are some farms in Vietnam that produce 30 tons of fruit per hectare every year.”
Bartlett pears, on the other hand, are the most commonly-grown pear outside of Asia. According to Wikipedia, they accounted for half of all reported pear production in the US in 2004.
Touche, food science.