Oberlin: A Fruit Exposé - Part 1
Ever wanted to know exactly what fruit will be available to you when you come to Oberlin? You are not alone! This is the unofficial Oberlin guide to all things fruity. I'm pretty sure that I was a fruit bat in a recent past life, because this is a top priority topic for me. But seriously, do not underestimate the importance of FOOD, by which I mean FRUIT, when choosing your college. How can you live, let alone think, god forbid write papers, without it?
Best for: fruit variety
During the day, I can usually be found raiding the Stevie fruit or salad bar. I would be there at night too if they'd let me in. Believe me, I've tried. Here is the full rundown on the Stevie fruit experience.
Notice the raisin/cranberry Oberlin homage, top-centre.
- Melon. So much melon. Red melon, yellow melon, pink and green melon, orange and purple and blue melon. OK, so more commonly, it's green melon, orange melon (the antelope one?), and watermelon. Demand for melon in Oberlin must match that of the rest of Ohio put together. Melon farmers around the world rejoice.
- Grapes. Grapes are coming out of my ears. Just the red and green varieties, so far. And a few browny ones. Grape quality ranges from 'nice and juicy' to 'that's a grape?' Tread carefully - my friend found an enormous bug squished into one of hers the other day. Go for grapes that are still attached to stalks, because free-flying ones tend to get tossed across the fruit bar willy-nilly and then shoved back into the bowl, which is a little gross. I, for one, want to know where my grape has been.
- Oranges, apples, and bananas. Found in giant metal buckets along the walls of Stevie and in white display bowls dotted around the place. Head straight for the display bowls. Fruit quality is unfailingly higher here. Down in the depths of those buckets, poor, forgotten apples waste away into piles of mould. Beware of diseased oranges, bum-shaped apples, and chalky bananas. Relish the juicy oranges, crisp apples (the red ones sometimes have these gorgeous white insides), and fresh, just right bananas. Time of week is crucial to fruit quality. Sunday breakfast, when new batches arrive, is prime fruit picking time. You snooze, you lose.
- Tinned pear and tinned peach. They are what they are. Tasty, actually.
- Dried cranberries and raisins. These go fast at dinner, so get in there sharpish. Raisins range from fresh and squidgy to just plain crusty. Only resort to crusty raisins in desperate times.
And that is it! No more fruit for you. Apart from:
No visual data here. They're just too surprising.
- Actual fresh pears and/or nectarines! Yum! We haven't had these in a while but the memory lingers on.
- Berries!! One perfectly normal Sunday morning, I wandered out of bed, into Stevie, and thought I was still in a dream. In front of me was a huge pile of blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries. Oh, what a wonderful day! You know what - maybe it actually was a dream.
Basically, there's something at Stevie every day. It has its ups and downs, but I can always find a meal (or three) in the end. They generally do a great job of keeping it all stocked up and fresh. The bottom line is that compared to every other dining hall I've been to in the world, Stevie is sublime. Perseverance and flexibility are advisable. Go ahead - try that 'mock chicken and blue cheese', 'baked potato soup', 'sweet potato shitake cake' or funny brown thing with spots (all genuine Stevie recipes bar one). You just might love it. If it's fruit, though, avoid the brown thing.
Best for: fruit originality
Decafe is the place to go for the most deliciousest fruit smoothies ever. These consist of your choice of frozen fruits, blended up with grape juice, fro yo, or some chai thing. One smoothie's enough for three hungry fruit addicts. There's only so much blueberry mango mush I can take in one sitting.
They also sell dried cherries (heaven!) and massive bags of spider-infested grapes. The spider part's only a myth, told to me by the cashier when I bought some. She was advising me to be cautious and wash the grapes before eating, but predictably, I already had five stuffed in my mouth.
Best for: going fruit cold turkey
One word: No. Don't do it to yourself. If you're a fried food lover, you'll never want to leave. But fruit lovers, you'll be lucky to get a non-mushy slice of canned something. Steer clear.
(OK, this is too harsh - there's melon, etcetera, but it doesn't really live up to Stevie. My loyalties lie elsewhere.)
Best for: fruit celebrations/emergencies
This cute little shop in town sells strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and mangoes, on some kind of unpredictable rotation. They're not cheap. But if it's your birthday, or you reach that point where you'd give your right arm for some citrus, leg it (oh, bad joke) to Gibson's.
I'm sure there are many other fruity places in Oberlin. The Saturday farmer's market, which I have yet to visit, comes to mind. To describe the entire Oberlin fruit scene was an over-ambitious goal, but I hope I've at least covered the basics. Look out for Part 2 coming up soon, which will contain the Final Fruit Verdict.
PS, I've left out a few fruit gems (*cough*pineapple*cough*). You wouldn't expect me to just give it all away on here, would you?