Sunday, May 7, 2017

Greetings from Cuba!

My friend Bethanne recently took a week-long trip to Cuba. In the past, travel from the US to Cuba required considerable planning and justification for the trip, but the normalization of relations in 2015 has made the impulse of regular tourism - tourism for the curious, not just the credentialed or blood-related - possible.

Being a good friend and Produce Savant guest blogger superstar, she took note of the produce markets.

"Everything looked fresh and good," she said. The picture above, with sensible cabbage, peppers, onions and carrots, two kinds of starchy tubers and actually ripe pineapple. reminded me of the fruit stands in El Barrio, aka Spanish Harlem. 

A wide range of bananas.

Bethanne noted, "I learned that Cubans are on ration books and fresh produce isn't covered by the ration books, which makes the fresh stuff a bit of a luxury."

Political issues always touch produce, even if we don't always discuss it. Trade policies, agricultural policies, environmental policies, labor policies, and so on. What's grown? What's sold? At what price? Who's selling? Who's buying? What isn't sold? What's exported? I'm curious about it all. 

Given the historically fraught relations between theUS and Cuba, the political implications of produce seem more central. But perhaps I'll explore these topics more fully in future posts. But for now, I'll just promise to write about the mysterious fruits in the photo. Look forward to "What the heck is that? Mamey sapote" in the near future.