Thursday, February 4, 2016

Weird Fruit Explorer

Yew Berry & Oregon Grape - Weird Fruit Explorer Ep

Laying there in bed at night, exploring the far reaches of human consciousness expressed through YouTube by the light of my iPad, I make some interesting discoveries. Weird Fruit Explorer is a good example, I think. I'm a subscriber to this channel and have been following Jared, the fruit explorer's videos for some time. There's something so... what's the word I'm looking for? something so ECCENTRIC - yes, that'll do, about this series - that I find very appealing.

Here's some of the information this video producer has provided for his audience:

"My name is Jared Rydelek. For a living I am a contortionist, fire eater and sword swallower; naturally, it gets boring…. On my channel I will be posting videos reviewing exotic fruit and the weirdest places I can find. Why fruit? Finding exotic fruit that is unavailable to the rest of the world is a bit like a treasure hunt… Some of the fruits I find are tasty, some are disgusting, some are dangerous to eat, but all of them are interesting. Why strange places? Well, the world is full of amazing sites that few people, even travelers, get to see…" 

I've followed this guy's explorations in places like Malaysia, Laos, South Florida, and (Yikes) Ohio. By the way, I agree with him, we Average Joes simply don't run across fruits like the Paw Paw, the Finger Sop, or the Feijoa in the produce sections of our neighborhood A&P, or even the Whole Foods Market or Trader Joe’s down the road from it. These fruits truly are exotic and interesting, and if we can believe the over the top expressions this guy sometimes makes as he cautiously places some of them in his mouth, their flavors are unexpected and unlike fruits we are familiar with.

By the way, I’m not a complete stranger to, what for a former New Yorker, seems like exotic fruit, I’ve sampled Durian in Thailand, Rambutan in Costa Rica, Dragon Fruit in Singapore, and Cherimoya in my wife’s native Ecuador. And these have provided interest and a tad of culinary adventure. As a kid, I collected fruits that have no commercial viability, but that can be found in wild places throughout the US; things like Mulberries, Osage Oranges, and Elderberries. But the Weird Fruit Explorer has done videos on things that make these seem tame. He’s introduced me to the pleasures or revulsions of fruits like Jujubes, Kousa Dogwood Fruit, and the Monstera Deliciosa. How are those  for weird?

In this particular episode of his series, a video titled Yew Berry & Oregon Grape, we see our hero scouring the wilds of urban public parks in the state of Washington, where growing wild and in full view of high rise dwelling neighbors, he finds those two fruits in abundance. These are certainly new to me, and even though his review of these discoveries characterizes them as: just kind of alright… nothing to write home about… has a little bit of a bitter after taste, I enjoyed the video. I appreciate his delivery, which is sometimes dead pan, sometimes almost sarcastic, sometimes mildly enthused, but what seems to me as always authentic. And I guess it’s something about the mix of who this guy is, the things he shares in the videos, and the way he shares them that appeals to me. Even though the level of his expressed excitement is on the low side, his passion for discovering and introducing to the rest of us things that seem to him to be truly noteworthy, comes across. And what better use can any of us put YouTube to?

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