Menu

The Fruit Hunters

Tasty, lethal, hallucinogenic, and medicinal – fruits have led nations into wars, fueled dictatorships, and even lured us into new worlds. Adam Leith Gollner weaves business, science, and travel into a riveting narrative about one of earth’s most desired foods.

Readers will discover why even though countless exotic fruits exist in nature, only several dozen varieties are vailable in supermarkets. Gollner explores the political machinations of multinational fruit corporations, exposing the hidden alliances between agribusiness and government and what that means for public health. He traces the life of mass-produced fruits – how they are created, grown, and marketed, and he explores the underworld of fruits that are inaccessible, ignored, and even forbidden in the Western world.

Gollner draws readers into a Willy Wonka-like world with mangoes that taste like piña coladas, orange cloudberries, peanut butter fruits, and the miracle fruit that turns everything sour sweet, making lemons taste like lemonade. Peopled with a varied and bizarre cast of characters – from smugglers to explorers to inventors – this extraordinary book unveils the hidden universe of fruit.


From the Hardcover edition.

Read an Excerpt

Prologue
Blame It on Brazil

It is here that we harvest the miraculous fruits your heart hungers for;
come and intoxicate yourself on the strange sweetness.
–Charles Baudelaire, The Voyage

Wiping sand from my eyes, I stumble off a bus outside the Rio de Janeiro botanical garden and pass under the Ionic columns at the entrance...
Read More

Praise for The Fruit Hunters

"A rollicking account of the world of fruit and fruit fanatics. [Gollner's] traveled to many countries in search of exotic fruits, and he describes in sensuous detail some of the hundreds of varieties he's sampled, among them the peanut butter fruit, blackberry-jam fruit and coco-de-mer…. Gollner's passion for fruit is infectious, and his fascinating book is a testament to the fact that there is much more to the world of fruit than the bland varieties on our supermarket shelves."
Publishers' Weekly, starred review

"An informative, enlightening account of fruits and their role in human life…[Gollner] explores a mind-boggling array of fruits — including Rudolph Hass's avocadoes, Ah Bing's cherries and the foreign-weirdo-turned-megafruit kiwi... He brings us into the worlds of growers, wholesalers, marketers, agricultural officials, smugglers and branders. 'Every time we eat a fruit, we're tasting forgotten histories,' he writes, recounting how fruits have fueled wars, inspired religious worship, led to group sex and caused sensations [such as] the outbreak of pear mania in 19th-century America."
Kirkus

"A beautiful and evocative book...Adam Leith Gollner is a crazy good writer. I've got the fruit bug." –Feist

"Gollner possesses a talent as rare and exotic as a coconut pearl....lustrous and exhilarating. Gollner's is not the sort of talent one can develop. It is genetic, physical — an exquisite sensitivity of tongue, nose and eye." –The New York Times

"Highly entertaining." –Toronto Star


From the Hardcover edition.