Think the notoriously stinky durian is exotic? Just wait until you see the dozens of even more obscure but beloved fruit in the new-to-DVD documentary "The Fruit Hunters."
The movie, directed by Yung Chang and inspired by the 2008 book of the same name by Adam Leith Gollner, explores the vast world of fruit that exists outside the apples, bananas, peaches and plums you’ll find in the grocery store: Varieties of mangoes so rare that they sell for hundreds of dollars a pound at a fruit auction, so-called miracle berries that temporarily alter the way your taste buds work, a tree legume whose white fluffy pulp tastes like ice cream.
In both the book and the film, you’ll learn just how far fruit epicures will go to taste an endangered specimen or even cultivate their buds to preserve in a carefully tended orchard. One such activist is none other than actor Bill Pullman, who is not in the book but whose attempt to create a community orchard in his Los Angeles neighborhood is featured prominently in the documentary.
The book, which came out on paperback in June (Scribner, $16) goes into far more detail about the science of why humans go to such lengths for a bite of something sweet and how some species of fruit have evolved to rely on humans for survival. The film, which came out on DVD a few weeks ago and is available for rent on iTunes and Amazon, is a shorter yet still fascinating look into a quadrant of our diet that many of us take for granted.