I have a bone to pick with one of your columnists. Sanne Specht wrote about mystery food for a couple of weeks in her Southern Oregon Journal column. But this Sunday she left us hanging and moved on to other topics. Meanwhile, I still want to know what was growing on her hybrid fruit tree. Was it a plum or a pluot? She also teased us with pineapples and sandwiches and bean juice left around in downtown Medford. Who left the strange food? And what the heck is bean juice? Can't you make her tell?
— Erik H., Ashland
Columnists are a strange breed, Erik. Especially ours. You never know what they'll start yapping about. Then their minds drift off to parts ... Wait. What were we talking about?
We, the normal members of the newsroom (and there is at least one of us) tracked down Specht, and held her feet to the Since You Asked fire on your behalf — and because it was fun for us.
Regarding your query about the mystery fruit that sprang forth this season from her previously beaver-ravaged, grafted pluot tree, Specht said she sampled all four of the deep purple specimens. Unfortunately, her taste buds seem to be on hiatus along with her brain. She said she couldn't tell if they were merely exceedingly delicious plums which sprang from the tree's root stock, or if they were actually pluots that did not hold up to the memories of pre-beaver fruits. She is requesting a pluot do-over next season.
As to the Medford mystery fruit, Specht said she received a phone message about the pineapple and the lime. The fellow declined to leave his name, but stated he was a chef who had fallen on hard times. He makes daily downtown rounds and often picks things up to "recycle," he said. Apparently, the chef found an Aug. 26 Mail Tribune on his daily wanderings, because he told Specht he was amused to read about the fruit he had left in the back alley in the Sunday paper. "You're right," he said. "It was a perfectly ripe pineapple."
Not wanting the fruit himself nor wanting it to go to waste, he was pleased to see someone had taken him up on his tropical offering. Even if they opted not to take his citrus one.
He did not fess up to leaving the sandwich, soda or ice cream cup, Specht spied later that same day. Nor did he say he'd left the cup of bean juice left street-side a few days later wherein a barrista's steaming-milk artistry still swirled inside the cup, Specht said. She said bean juice is obviously coffee. Not soy milk, as some of us here surmised.