The cherimoya (cher-uh-MOY-uh) surprises at every turn!
It's a tropical fruit that loves cold, high altitude climates.
In fact its name comes from the Quechua word "chirimuya," which means "cold seeds," as the seeds germinate in altitudes up to six thousand feet.
And that's just the beginning...
The flower that begets this fruit is hermaphroditic.
It begins it's life female and within a matter of hours, transitions to male. This procession means it can't self-pollinate: by the time the pollen is produced, the ovum has withered.
Scientists believe a beetle makes the match, collecting pollen from male stamens, and delivering it to female ovums before they, too, transition.
When cultivated on a farm outside of the cherimoya's natural habitat, each flower has to be pollinated by hand.
And it's worth it! This is a fruity-tutti tropical explosion! Mark Twain called it, "the most delicious fruit known to men." We agree but, ahem, women like it too.
Cherimoya’s are excellent unadorned. But if you’re looking to experiment, start here:
But steer clear of the seeds. They're poisonous!
You can find cherimoya at Pedro's Organic Ranch stand. Their season starts in late fall and runs through spring.
Aubrey Yarbrough manages the Playa Vista, Westwood and Hermosa Beach Farmers' Markets for Farmer Mark. Before moving to LA she ran her own organic farm and cooked on the garde manger station at the award winning Elements restaurant in Princeton, NJ. She has contributed to Edible Jersey and her poetry will appear in the forthcoming issue of New American Writing.