I wish I was in the land of... cranberries and mangoes

In anticipation of a good season, many an East Carolina farmer had planted new bushes

"EGG PRODUCERS sell out after Delia Smith's back-to-basics programme explains omelettes."

Newspaper headline

"Nice weather for it."

Every day that Jeb Ritstetter could remember, his father had ridden out with him through the cranberry fields of East Carolina and had said that it was nice weather for it. He never varied his sentiments, even when the tail-end of Hurricane Mitch caught East Carolina. Nor had he ever said what it was nice weather for. Jeb thought that maybe it was a remnant of old-style Southern courtesy, and maybe his dad thought of the weather as a lady who had to be humoured no matter what mood she was in.

"Sure is, Pa," he said.

Every day that he could remember, he had agreed with his father, even if in his heart of hearts he disagreed. But he in turn treated his father with old-fashioned Southern courtesy, and his father had never objected.

"Cranberries coming on well," said his father.

"Sure are, Pa."

Before them stretched many a mile of cranberry fields, the little flowers winking and nodding in the sunshine. The hired hands bent low over the bushes, also winking and nodding in the sunshine. They knew their place.

"Any news from England, son?"

Jeb dreaded this question. Last year had been a record season for the cranberry exporters. Miss Delia Smith (his father always referred to her as Miss Delia Smith, as if about to ask her to step out on the dance floor for the next quadrille) had recommended the good people of Britain to rush out and buy cranberries to cook with, and the good people of Britain had duly rushed out and bought cranberries, and the good cranberry exporters of East Carolina had rejoiced, because they had moved a whole lot of cranberries across the Atlantic and made a whole lot of money.

Indeed, in anticipation of another good season, many an East Carolina farmer had planted new cranberry bushes to increase his crop...

A reader writes: As a matter of interest, are cranberries really grown in East Carolina?

Miles Kington writes: I have no idea. This whole episode is symbolic.

... and Jeb's father had even converted a small chicken farm which had been in the family for ages into another cranberry field. And now the crop was ripening, but the orders weren't coming. And as the cranberry fields lay glistening red and green in the sunshine...

A reader writes: As a matter of interest, do cranberry fields glisten red and green in the sun?

MK writes: Yes, they do. They stretch for miles, until you reach the rich orange and green mango fields of Virginia, where cheap chutney is made and then exported to National Trust properties all over England and sold expensively to unsuspecting fans of the late Nikolaus Pevsner...

A reader writes: You're making all this up, aren't you?

MK writes: Of course I am. Mangoes actually grow on trees, not on bushes in fields.

A reader writes: So you make it up, even when you know the truth?

MK writes: Of course. This is what journalism is all about. Now shut up.

... and as the cranberry fields lay glistening red and green in the Carolina sunshine, news came from Britain that Delia Smith was no longer recommending cranberries. She was recommending eggs. Jeb thought of the chicken farm they had torn up, and reckoned the news would just about break his father's heart.

"As I was saying, son, any news from England?"

Jeb was just about to utter the dreadful tidings when a sound in the distance made him pause. Far away a lone horseman was raising the dust. As he came closer they could see it was the foreman, Lance, waving his hat and whooping. He drew to a halt right by them.

"Good news, Mr Ritstetter! We had a huge advance order for cranberries come in this morning!"

"I jest knew the good people of Britain wouldn't let me down," said Jeb's father.

"That's the funny thing," said Lance. "It ain't an order from Europe at all. It's from Australia."

"It's a mystery," said Jeb's father.

As a matter of fact, it wasn't a mystery at all. The thing was that they had just started showing a rerun of Delia Smith's last cookery series in Australia and everyone had gone mad about cranberries down under...

A reader writes: Is that true ?

M K writes: Does it matter?

A reader writes: Yes.

M K writes: I beg to differ.

Normal service will be resumed tomorrow

Arts and Entertainment
The Rolling Stones at the Roundhouse in London in 1971: from the left, Keys, Charlie Watts, Mick Taylor and Mick Jagger

Music ...featuring Eric Clapton no less
Arts and Entertainment
In the dock: Dot Branning (June Brown); Union boss claims EastEnders writers are paid less than minimum wage

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Roger Christian wrote and directed the 1980 Black Angel original, which was lost until 2011

film
Arts and Entertainment
Professor Green (Hand out press photograph provided by Camilla Gould)

TV
Arts and Entertainment

Game of Thrones reviewWarning: Spoilers aplenty
Arts and Entertainment
Matthew Healy of The 1975 performing on the Pyramid Stage at the Glastonbury Festival, at Worthy Farm in Somerset

music
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe Withnail and I creator, has a new theory about killer's identity
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
tvDick Clement and Ian La Frenais are back for the first time in a decade
Arts and Entertainment
The Clangers: 1969-1974
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Rocky road: Dwayne Johnson and Carla Gugino play an estranged husband and wife in 'San Andreas'
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Nicole Kidman plays Grace Kelly in the film, which was criticised by Monaco’s royal family

film
Arts and Entertainment
Emilia Clarke could have been Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades of Grey but passed it up because of the nude scenes

film
Arts and Entertainment
A$AP Rocky and Rita Ora pictured together in 2012

music
Arts and Entertainment
A case for Mulder and Scully? David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson in ‘The X-Files’

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Impressions of the Creative Community Courtyard within d3. The development is designed to 'inspire emerging designers and artists, and attract visitors'

architecture
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010

GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival

Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister

TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride

Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan

FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head

Arts and Entertainment
Måns Zelmerlöw performing

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Norton was back in the commentating seat for Eurovision 2015

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May on stage

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The light stuff: Britt Robertson and George Clooney in ‘Tomorrowland: a World Beyond’
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Reawakening: can Jon Hamm’s Don Draper find enlightenment in the final ‘Mad Men’?
tv reviewNot quite, but it's an enlightening finale for Don Draper spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Breakfast Show’s Nick Grimshaw

Radio
Arts and Entertainment

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
'Youth' cast members Paul Dano, Jane Fonda, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, and Michael Caine pose for photographers at Cannes Film Festival
film
Arts and Entertainment
Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward and Robin in the 1960s Batman TV show

Comics
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

    ‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

    Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
    The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

    The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

    ... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
    12 best olive oils

    Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

    Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
    Rafa Benitez Real Madrid unveiling: New manager full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

    Benitez full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

    There were tears in the former Liverpool manager’s eyes as he was unveiled as Real Madrid coach. But the Spaniard knows he must make tough decisions if he is to succeed
    Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

    Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

    Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
    Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
    Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

    The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

    Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
    The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

    The future of songwriting

    How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
    William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

    Recognition at long last

    Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
    Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

    Beating obesity

    The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
    9 best women's festival waterproofs

    Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

    These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
    Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

    Wiggins worried

    Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
    On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

    On your feet!

    Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
    With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

    The big NHS question

    Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?