I WAS LEAFING through the current New Yorker magazine this morning when my eye landed on a story about a man who delivers avocados to your door. This is, of course, in New York City. Where else could someone make a living delivering avocados and only avocados. Like, you get this sudden desire for guacamole and you’re in your pajamas, engrossed in some show on Netflix, and you can just call this guy and he’ll deliver three avocados for $7.50. Five go for $12.50.
If you happen to have lump crabmeat on hand and suddenly think, “Stuffed avocados!” he can deliver firmer fruit that will hold up as a shell. Miguel Gonzalez has so perfected the ripening process, he can deliver exactly what you need for whatever it is you’re making.
$7.50 is not a bad price, either. This week avocados were $2.69 each at Harris Teeter in the Washington DC area, and you had to put shoes on and maybe get in the car (if you were in a real hurry), all of this taking some quantity of gas and many minutes from sofa and TV viewing.
Instead, this guy shows up with the avocados and drops them with your doorman. It is a fairly minor inconvenience to get in the elevator and go downstairs—I’ve never seen a sign in an apartment building saying “No Shirt No Shoes No Elevator Service.” Much easier than leaving the building and maybe requiring a sweater.
If you’re generous with your doorman during the holidays he (or she—are there any female doorpersons?)* might even deliver them up to your apartment.
Gonzalez also delivers to restaurants and delis. Crates-ful each day. Degree of ripeness to order. I do not know what he charges per crate. This is not mentioned.
I used to grow avocado plants from pits when I lived in New York. Stick four toothpicks in the sides of a pit, balance it over a scotch glass full of water, and set it on the windowsill. Soon the pit cracks and a little tow-headed seedling gropes blindly toward the light, quickly enough turning green and sprouting leaves above and roots below. Now stick it in a pot of dirt. The plant grows and grows and eventually, or so I’m told, will grow fruit. Amazing, isn’t it, that I lived, shall we say, many years, without realizing that avocados grow from avocado pits. I have never seen this happen, but the guy at the plant stand a few blocks from me said it’s so.
If you’re making guacamole,** by the way, you also want western avocados like Hass (she, meaning me, gracefully gestures toward where she thinks the west might be). These are the bumpy-skinned, nearly black ones, not Florida avocados, which are the big shiny green ones that taste like water when mashed.
Because I ate many avocados, I had many little trees in New York. They were not particularly attractive, but they took the place of drapes, and a pleasantly greenish glow filled the living room at certain times of day. There was a tennis court across the street where Robert Redford used to play. I’d peer through the leaves with my binoculars like a big game hunter. He is rather short and has disappointingly thick legs, a discovery that quashed my lust for the Sundance Kid. I prefer my men long and lean. But that’s another story.
Speaking of deliveries. My baby sister’s ex-husband used to deliver ostrich eggs. They lived in Texas at the time and ostrich meat was being touted as the new steak. He considered raising the birds for a while but decided they were too nasty, smelly and dirty so he contracted with growers or breeders (I suppose they are called) and would pick up fertilized eggs, which are apparently fragile, and drive to places like Colorado or New Mexico, where fledgling farmers yet to learn that not only are these birds nasty, but they (the fledgling farmers) were not going to make a fortune raising them.
Ostrich meat never caught on. Restaurants tried serving it. Supermarkets stocked it in the freezer section (since there wasn’t yet and, it seems, never would be much of a demand for fresh).
What ever happened to the ostrich meat business?
When he stopped delivering ostrich eggs, my baby sister’s ex-husband sold thread out of the trunk of his car.
One imagines him lurking in an alley: “Pssst, lady. Wanna buy some red thread?”
This enterprise obviously headed nowhere. Except a well-deserved divorce.
* LittleBird Nancy reports from Manhattan’s Upper East Side: None that I’ve seen so far!
** Baby lived in Austin for a few years, working in the restaurant biz. They KNOW from Tex-Mex in Austin. I visited for a week and gained 10 pounds. She offers a delicious twist on the usual—try it on football (or Jane Austen) night.
2 large, ripe avocados
1 medium tomato, diced
¾ medium red onion, finely chopped
Big handful of cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1 to 1½ limes
Dash of garlic powder
Salt & pepper
Spoon halves of avocado out of the skin into a bowl. Add ingredients all at once, then chop/toss the lot with a wooden spoon to achieve a somewhat chunky consistency.
Everything is to taste and to personal preference, and you’ll know the proportions are right if you have a little bit of everything in any given sample. I usually add the onion and lime gradually, and taste-test throughout.
LittleBird “Stephanie Gardens” reports that none of her avocado plants died for this recipe.