I bought this box of oranges last October, when I was driving around farm country just north of Los Angeles. I made a crazy u-turn to pull into a roadside farm stand on a whim; it was selling oranges right in front on the field where they were grown.
Tables were stacked with cardboard boxes, filled with oranges sorted by size and quality, with a price corresponding to each. I stopped a clerk, and pointed to one of the boxes, asked if oranges could be priced by the pound. I was only in California for the week, and I was flying home, so a crate of oranges wasn’t practical for me.
The clerk looked at me and blinked. “The box is $3.” she said bluntly.
“Alright then!” I replied. “I guess I’ll be taking a box!”
The crate of oranges lived in the trunk of my rental car for the rest of my trip; armfuls of oranges were distributed to friends I met up with on my travels. These perfect oranges were a novelty to me, electrifying my taste buds as I slurped them down, covering myself in their sweet sticky juices. I proudly presented them to my California friends as though they were some rare treasure; they blinked and took them with a shrug.
I felt justified in a San Francisco green market, when a chatty farmer commented that her father would take business trips to New York every fall. He’d stuff his suitcase full of apples to haul home and share with his family.