Fruit Love Letters is a curious dive into the Anthropocene through fruit-colored glasses. Host Jessamine Starr may not be a botanist, historian, farmer or an expert on fruit, but as a chef in Atlanta she's simply had a lifetime love affair with it. So, she began penning love letters to fruit. This podcast pairs those letters with her desires to learn more. From the miraculous survival adventure of the avocado, to the nurturing personality of a fig, we’ll traverse the world of fruit through emotional meanderings and expanding a hunger for more information. Through discussions with farmers, scientists, chefs and enthusiasts, Fruit Love Letters proves that there is so much we didn’t know about fruit, from the blueberries you sprinkle on your cereal or that seemingly mundane apple snack, both in historical fact and mystique.
Fruit Utopia - The Preston B. Bird and Mary Heinlein Fruit and Spice Park
In this episode @Jessaminestarr visits a real fruit utopia, the @fruitandspice park in Homeland, Fl. It is a county park like no other, full of fruit and spice plants from around the world. She talks with the director, Vanessa Trujillo, about some of the offerings at the park and then chats with horticulturalist Louise King about the history and the future of the park. Finally, she takes listeners on a tour with guide Iva Hegg, who is a wealth of knowledge about everything growing in the park.
Learn more about this episode of Fruit Love Letters at www.whetstoneradio.com, on IG at @whetstoneradio, Twitter at @whetstone_radio, and YouTube at /WhetstoneRadio.
15/03/2022 • 38 minutes 21 seconds
The Fig - Mother of all Fruit
"I could label you divine, godly as many have, but you are a fruit of the womb."The fig is myth, sustenance, and ecological wonder. For this episode, Jessamine Starr explores each of those aspects of the fig and how they intertwine… the stories blending with the fruit’s sugar, shaped by the tree’s strong roots, venerated by wasps and people. She places, in essence, the fig’s mythology and biology on equal footing. Mike Shanahan, author of Gods, Wasps and Stranglers is just the person to answer all her questions.Fruit Love Letters is part of Whetstone Radio Collective. Learn more about Fruit Love Letters here. Find show notes here.And transcript <a href="https://www.whetstonemagazine.com/fruit-love-letters-ep9" rel=
08/03/2022 • 34 minutes 56 seconds
The Mulberry's Imprint on History
"You are the last tree to flower, and the first to fruit. Both holding on and letting go almost simultaneously, like a secret tattooed upon the hand."In this episode, Jessamine dives into the rich history of the mulberry with author Peter Coles. She learns that the tree that has become so prevalent around the globe—that some even consider a weed—actually has a lot to offer us. She also chats with farmer and agroforestry advocate Weston Lombard.Fruit Love Letters is part of Whetstone Radio Collective. Learn more about Fruit Love Letters here. Find show notes here.
01/03/2022 • 35 minutes 17 seconds
The Improbable Path of the Avocado Pit
"I always knew you were special; then I discovered that you are very special - and evolutionary anachronism, a scientific miracle."In this episode, Jessamine does things a little differently and explores the life of the avocado pit instead of the fruit. She talks with farmer Tom Siddons about the science of growing the avocado from seed and artist Maria Elena Pombo about how she uses the seed to bind us to a past and present community narrative.Fruit Love Letters is part of Whetstone Radio Collective. Learn more about Fruit Love Letters here. Find show notes here.
22/02/2022 • 31 minutes 48 seconds
The Persimmon - A Sweet Summer Package for Winter Eating
"You taste like a humid August night on my tongue."Every fruit...and every orchard has a story. Persimmon’s stories are perhaps a little more interesting than other fruits’...at least in the U.S., because they’re not a hugely commercial crop here.In this episode, Jessamine talks to farmers at two very different orchards. The first is Penryn Orchard, an orchard with a rich history, steeped in a love of the fruit. And Jessamine gets to visit a new persimmon farm closer to home, Sweet Georgia Fuyu, where she learns about the potiental of the persimmon market while tasting plenty of persimmons along the way.Fruit Love Letters is part of Whetstone Radio Collective. Learn more about Fruit Love Letters here. Find show notes <a href="https://www.whetstonemagazine.com/radio/fruit-love-letters/ep-6" rel="noopener noreferrer" targe
15/02/2022 • 35 minutes 3 seconds
The Beautiful Complexities of the Apple
“Writing to you is akin to writing a single letter to all the humans.” Humans have been tinkering with crossbreeds of apples for thousands of years. Gidon Coll, the owner of Hudson Valley Apple Project, shares some of the types he grows and why so few varieties of apples are available for sale at the store or from your local apple farmer. Luckily for Jessamine, she gets to sample some of the rare breeds Gidon grows on his farm. Then she has a conversation with William Mullan, a New York-based artist who elevated apples to his photographic muse.Fruit Love Letters is part of Whetstone Radio Collective. Learn more about Fruit Love Letters here. Find show notes here.
08/02/2022 • 28 minutes 53 seconds
The Subtly Essential Ingredient for Equatorial Chefs
“Your tangy earthbound pulp, a portal to biological brilliance.” Tamarind is a key ingredient to the wheelhouse of many equatorial chefs. This week, Jessamine gathers in conversation Sam Fore of Tuk Tuk Sri Lankan Bites in Lexington, Kentucky; Parnass Savang of Talat Market in Atlanta, Georgia; and Maricela Vega of Chico, also in Atlanta. All three chefs are combining their familiar homeland foods—from Sri Lanka, Thailand and Mexico—with their current surroundings in the American South. Despite using the same fruit, the different ways tamarind manifests in their unique recipes is a fascinating testament to their ingenuity.Fruit Love Letters is part of Whetstone Radio Collective. Learn more about Fruit Love Letters here. Find show notes <a href="https://www.whetstonemagazine.com/radio/fruit-love-letters/ep-4" rel="noopener noreferrer" targ
01/02/2022 • 31 minutes 47 seconds
Cultivated or Wild the Blueberry Has a Story to Tell
"Even so, I cannot move away from my ‘self’/perpetually residing in a blueberry cave."Jessamine learns the history of both the cultivated blueberry and the native wild blueberry. For the former, she consults Kiyomi Locker, a historian for the Whitesbog Preservation Trust, birthplace of the cultivated blueberry. Through Kiyomi, Jessamine hears of Elizabeth White, the agricultural specialist who took the blueberry out of the woods and to consumers around the world. But just because most of us enjoy the cultivated blueberry doesn’t mean the wild one is gone. Brian Altvater and Holli Francis introduce Maine’s Passamaquoddy Wild Blueberry Company, the only Native-owned wild blueberry enterprise in the world. Clearly, there is space for both the wild and cultivated blueberry in our homes and our bellies.Fruit Love Letters is part of Whetstone Radio Collective. Learn more about Fruit Love Letters <a href="https://www.whetstonemagazine.com/radio/fruit-love-letters"
25/01/2022 • 29 minutes 37 seconds
The Native Fruit Worth Remembering
“A perfume so intense it confuses the senses.” One of North America’s least-known native fruits, the pawpaw deserves a stage of its own. Jessamine chats with historian, writer and citizen of the Choctaw Nation, Devon Mihesuah. Having grown up eating pawpaws, Devon wants pawpaw fruits to be available to Indigenous communities for years to come. To explore a pathway to pawpaw preservation through cultivation, Jessamine speaks with Neal Peterson, a plant geneticist who has spent the last 45 years creating pawpaws for the future.Fruit Love Letters is part of Whetstone Radio Collective. Learn more about Fruit Love Letters here. Find show notes here.
18/01/2022 • 33 minutes 37 seconds
The Fruit the World Can't Help But Love
"Strand me on an island with one food, I always choose you."This is an impassioned ode to the mango. Host Jessamine Starr talks to mango expert Dr. Noris Ledesma, who fell in love with mangoes as a child in Colombia and has since spent much of her career studying this fruit. While both Jessamine and Noris share a great love for mango, Noris has made it her life's mission to ensure that it continues to thrive and make it to our kitchen tables. She has traveled around the world collecting mango species in an attempt to cultivate mangoes that can withstand everything from climate change and farmers' needs to the picky consumer's eye.Fruit Love Letters is part of Whetstone Radio Collective. Learn more about Fruit Love Letters here. Find show notes <a href="https://www.whetstonemagazine.com/radio/fruit-love-letters/ep-1" rel="noopener noreferr
11/01/2022 • 28 minutes 36 seconds
Trailer - Fruit Love Letters
Curious about what’s to come in WRC’s new podcast, Fruit Love Letters? Listen to host Jessamine Starr (@jessasminestarr) tell you all about it in this trailer!Mark your calendars for the launch of #FruitLoveLetters on Tuesday, January 11!