Last week I caught up with my friend, polymathic vitality legend David “Avocado” Wolfe before his UK events this October and we quickly got onto one of the most alluring of all nutritional subjects – fruit.
KV: Kyle Vialli
DW: David Wolfe
KV: I know you are living in Ontario, what wild delicacies are you picking right now?
DW: Haskap berries, Juneberries, Mulberries and Raspberries at the moment.
KV: Awesome. Are you just stumbling upon berry bushes here and there or have you found secret abundant patches that you keep going back?
DW: I am fortunate enough to have a wilderness guide as a next door neighbour. I often go with him into Alconquin Provincial park (a few hours north of Toronto). We have discovered a lot of berry hotspots up there. It’s always the Best Day Ever.
KV: Good stuff!! Are avocados still your favourite food?
DW: YES, you can say I have something of an avocado obsession. I love eating and growing many different varieties of avocado.
KV: Great, yes, they are truly awesome tucker. How many varieties of avocado are there in the World actually?
DW: Oh Hundreds! I can probably name 600 right now. There are around a 1000 varieties in total.
KV: Wow, that’s amazing. In the UK Hass and Fuerte avocados dominate the market, so most people’s conception of avocado is based around the pale, more watery Fuerte or the richer, meatier Hass. Are there any other varieties that come to mind that folks should check out to develop their avocado palate?
DW: Yes, the Pinkerton and Reed varieties are a great choice. I know they can both be found in the UK. You are right about Fuerte being more watery, this quality makes them a good choice in the summer month as it has a lower fat content, is less rich and naturally more hydrating. At my farm in Hawaii I am growing some incredibly delicious Guatemalan varieties. They are more ball-shaped than pear shaped, and some of them are truly massive. Too big to eat in one go.
KV: Fantastic. When’s the last time you discovered a new fruit you had previously not tried before?
DW: Great question. It was probably a wild Rollinia species I had in Australia last time. The same family as Custard Apple/Cherimoya. It was strong and bitter, very medicinal.
KV: It’s such an amazing family. Do you hold the principle that the kingdom of fruits is the most natural and fitting for humankind? The most alluring?
DW: Absolutely! Fruits and young leaves. It’s so funny to me that many people avoid fruits because of the belief that fruits are high in sugar and therefore too high on the glycemic index. But so many fruits, especially the berries are all low glycemic.
KV: Yes, exactly. The sweeter fruits for the most part are the fruits of the tropics. In the heat and humidity of the tropics blood sugar is naturally lowered so the additional sweetness of the local fruits there is very much appreciated by the body. The local environment is a big factor on the glycemic influence of any given fruit.
DW: For sure, eat local and seasonal is way more than just a simple environmental adage. Before we even get to a persons individual biochemistry, lifestyle has a big impact on just how fruit sugars are tolerated by any given person.
KV: Completely agree David. Where has your research taken you recently?
DW: Tree Leaves.
KV: The leaves of Trees?
DW: Right. Trees are so abundant in most ecosystems and many indigenous cultures utilised a wide variety of their leaves as both food and medicine. In the Western world this knowledge has been largely, though not completely lost, but the truth is that a good percentage of tree leaves are excellent as both vegetable and/or medicine. In Canada I am often picking young Maple leaves for example.
KV: That’s beautiful. I know in the last few years the leaves of the tropical Moringa tree (by way of Moringa powder) have become pretty popular in the UK. It’s a densely nutritious plant that even prevents blindness caused by nutrient deficiency.
DW: Yes, moringa is a great example and the leaves of the Indian Neem tree are another long utilised example, densely medicinal. We are however just scratching the surface. Watch this space!