The fresh ‘n’ fruity mutant edition

Mutant Green Tomato

By Laura Grimes

Dear Mr. Scatter,

You really shouldn’t let me go shopping unsupervised. Because then I buy things like Baby Fuzzless Kiwifruit. They don’t look very exceptional. They look like hard little nuggets that should be skewered and stuck in a drink. But I don’t care about that. They’re called Baby Fuzzless Kiwifruit and that’s all that matters. The package says I bought One Half Dry Pint. All the signs in the store said Kiwifruit (oneword).

I also bought Elephant Heart Plums. I have no idea whether they’re any good. Who cares with such a cool name? I did, however, refrain from buying a long skinny eggplant that was folded like a bobby pin and a sweet potato that looked like a goose. Knowing me, you know I showed remarkable restraint in not filling the cart with a bobby pin, a goose and all their deformed friends.

(Aside: I buried the conjoined-twin cucumbers in the raised garden bed in the hope they will produce more mutant produce.)

At the checkout, a clerk with bright orange eye shadow and perfectly mascara’ed lashes gushed excitedly about the Baby Fuzzless Kiwifruit (oneword). “Oh, I love these!”

“I know. They’re fuzzless.”

“I know! I’m going to get some today. They’re so cheap right now.”

“I know!” I nodded agreeably, happy she shared the same excitement. In truth, I had no idea how much they cost, because I didn’t look and I didn’t care. But she still had my rapt attention. Fascinated, I watched her lashes go up and down.

“They’re so cute! You know those little apples that come out at Christmastime?”

“You mean the Pink Lady apples?” I oozed with good cheer.

“Yeah, those are the ones. I always have to get those because they’re just so tiny and so cute. My kids say, ‘I had to eat, like, three of them.’ And I just say, ‘Yeah, but they’re so cute!’ ”


Earlier in the day at a different store I was on my way to find wax beans when I heard one of the workers who looked important in a vest mumble something out of the corner of his mouth. I thought, Did I hear him right?

He was looking over a display at the end of an aisle. When he left, I checked it out, and sure enough, I had heard him correctly. He had said, “Coffee and Lysol. Now there’s a good tie-in.”

All four shelves on the bottom were lined up with the store brand Supreme Blend ground coffee in a can. The top shelf held row after row of disinfecting wipes and disinfectant spray.

I walked over to the wax beans that were nearby, but I couldn’t get the bizarre pairing out of my head. As I stood there staring over my shoulder at the cans of coffee underneath the disinfectant wipes, a nice worker lady looked at me. “Finding everything you need?”

“Oh, yes. Thank you.”


At that point, I pulled out my mini notepad and it was open to a page that had one thing written on it: “Plumber tomatoes.”

I stared a while trying to remember what on earth that could mean. Then it registered. Tomatoes with cracks!


At the kiwifruit store, I was so caught up in the onewordness of it all that I forgot to check whether they had chervil (not gerbil). I’m sure they didn’t.

Chervil (not gerbil) is a French thing. Yes, the people known for eating snails also have a penchant for a certain herb that supposedly repels slugs. Go figure.

I’m still campaigning to beef up awareness about this fair herb, which I’ve read is similar to parsley. I wouldn’t know. I’ve never seen it. Though I got excited about a possible chervil (not gerbil) sighting when Friend Ed sent me this note:

I was in the checkout line at Whole Foods this morning unloading a cartload of chervil and chervil-related products — the kids can’t get enough of the Odwalla Super-Chervil Smoothie, and I love the Newman’s Own Chervil Sandwich Cremes …

It turns out he was just kidding, though. I was a tad disappointed. Just to be sure there’s no confusion, I feel a grave need to clarify: We are not talking about gerbil smoothies.


The mutant tomato in the photo way above was rescued from being made into Green Tomato Relish or Piccalilli as the canning book mysteriously calls it. I will bury him in the raised garden bed as well and hope for more mutantcy. (I decided he must be a boy.)

We miss you.

Mrs. Scatter