Oberlin Blogs

Oberlin: A Fruit Exposé - Part 1

November 13, 2011

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?

Stevenson Dining Hall

Hello! Welcome to Stevenson fruit bar. Melon?

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.

The staple fruit diet


It's so delicious that hands will just spring out of thin air trying to grab it.
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:

The fruity surprises

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.

Wilder DeCafe

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.

Dascomb Dining Hall

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.)

Gibson's

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?

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Responses to this Entry

I love this Ruby! And I love all the fruit! :D

Posted by: Hannah Gilfix on November 13, 2011 5:13 PM

Such an insightful piece of journalism! Only a matter of time until the New York Times picks this up.

Great job Ruby! Or should I say grape job? I think I should. Looking forward to part 2 (and 3 and 4 and 5... the world of fruit exposés is endless...)

Posted by: Mr. Katie on November 13, 2011 5:19 PM

I am so happy (or should I say appley?) that I have made you proud, Mr. Katie. Personally, I think it should be renamed the New York Limes.
Hmm, what is Thanksgiving fruit like, I wonder?
Imagine this as a job: fruit exposer. What a wonderful life that would be.
Anyway, got to go eat an orange or five now.

Posted by: Ruby Turok-Squire '16 on November 13, 2011 5:34 PM

It's canteloupe! Don't worry, I was confused too. Also I caused a lot of confusion when I told my friends it was rockmelon.

Posted by: Ruby Saha on November 13, 2011 7:58 PM

I really need to eat more fruit in Stevie. My personal favorite are the grapes, and the antelope thingy ;)

Posted by: Simba on November 13, 2011 9:42 PM

Oh, that's the word, Ruby! Although I kind of prefer antelope melon. Rockmelon sounds intriguing! I wonder what that would taste like. Maybe not very good...

Posted by: Ruby Turok-Squire '16 on November 13, 2011 10:15 PM

One exciting fruit fact: CDS last year began buying only Fair Trade Certified bananas! I think this is a great step, even though fair trade isn't perfect either, it's good to know CDS is responsive to student food activism.

Also, be alert: some grapes have seeds. I encountered some in Stevie today. Still tasty, but extra care is required in the eating process.

Posted by: Nora on November 13, 2011 10:24 PM

That's a truly great fruit fact. Yay for CDS! We definitely need to keep up this student food/fruit activism. Next on the agenda: where did the berries go? Oh yeah, those mutant, small apple-sized grapes in Stevie today were perilous. But so juicy!

Posted by: Ruby Turok-Squire '16 on November 13, 2011 10:31 PM

Small apple sized grapes? Oh, I missed out!

Thanksgiving at my house is a somber affair-- I usually dine alone at my old long table, the butler as my only company. My one solace is the traditional feast of over-sized fruit; giant pomegranates, basketball-sized blueberries, massive pineapples (your standard fruit array). Fortunately this year I will not be needing fruit for company, as you (my protégé) will be dining with me, so I can finally do away with all that nonsense...

Sincerely,
Mr. Katie

Posted by: Mr. Katie on November 14, 2011 8:04 PM

Wow makes me hungry for fruit and I don't eat that much fruit....;) I'd have to say my fav would be (in divine order here) watermelon, musk melon, then grapes....then anything else in any order...hahaha..

Nice blog, wonderful post Mr. Katie...:)


Kev

Posted by: Kev on November 15, 2011 6:09 AM

Sorry bout that...I ate too much watermelon...hehe I meant wonderful post and nice blog, Mr Ruby....;) haha..

Posted by: Kev on November 15, 2011 6:15 AM

Now I am totally, totally, totally confused...what has this blog created?!
Umm...please save me one of the blueberries, Mr. Katie!! You're not planning to eat - me, are you?
And Kev - Hi! I have no idea who I actually am now.

Posted by: Ruby Turok-Squire '16 on November 15, 2011 12:14 PM

There are also amazing amazing local plums in the fall in Stevie. They're teeny tiny, like 3-4 bites with a rather sizable pit, but oh my goodness are they amazing.

My favorite part of Decafe is that they actually have grapefruits throughout the winter, and usually pomegranates, too! Best use of your flex points ever, actually.

Posted by: Ma'ayan on November 15, 2011 3:35 PM

I missed those! How could I? Oh dear. Fingers crossed for spring. And consider my flex points gone! :)

Posted by: Ruby Turok-Squire '16 on November 15, 2011 9:26 PM

Sorry Miss Ruby......Its all my fault you don't know who you are now.....Sometimes I have that effect on people....;)


Kev

P.S. Save me some watermelon today!

Posted by: Kev on November 16, 2011 12:58 AM

This post is hilarious! I love the fruit pics. Also - do you count tomatoes as fruit? If so (like me), ya gotta love the local heirloom tomatoes that Stevie has in the beginning of the semester.

Posted by: Paris on December 5, 2011 12:24 AM

Thanks for the tomato info! Heirloom? Makes me think of old paintings. See part 2 for a full tomato rundown :)

Posted by: Ruby Turok-Squire '16 on December 11, 2011 10:56 AM

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