More about the aphids:
Many of you read with disgust the following account about the aphids found in a sandwich purchased from Wild Oats on Sunday. On Monday, we called the offending store and spoke to the manager, who apologized for the infestation and promised to look into the matter. Sharon and I returned to the rocky waters and ordered a couple of new sandwiches, which we got sans lettuce. And we were happy to meet Bobby, the deli counter guy who is a self-described "lettuce nazi." I hope he’s also an "aphid nazi."
April 15, 2002
I didn’t write "What’s That Bug?," because when I discovered this critter, "What’s That Bug?" was sitting right next to me.
For those of you who didn’t hear my piercing screams last night (which carried for miles), the picture above shows the extra protein which was included in a turkey sandwich which I’d purchased from Wild Oats in Pasadena last night. The hitchhiker was immediately identified as an aphid. Also included within the two whole wheat slices was a deader version of this critter, which is what prompted a more thorough investigation of the meal in the first place.
Buff Charlie, who eats both lunch and dinner daily at this fine natural grocery store, strode powerfully to the store and got to the bottom of the infestation. He chastised the staff, and forced them to remove all lettuce from the deli section. "It’s a good idea to always look at your food before eating it," a friendly employee advised him.
That’s good advice, especially when munching on produce. Here in the AH backyard, our lettuce is home to all manner of hungry beasts. Rhonda is always out smushing slugs and grasshoppers. But once our garden produce enters the home, we are no longer playing games with the pests. They are removed, completely. None are pardoned.
I can only wonder why Wild Oats doesn’t share this philosophy of cleanliness and death. Is this what "organic" means these days?
Thanks, Daniel, for grossing me out even more! Buggy anal sugar! EWWW! This unsolicitated letter was received this morning:
Dear American Homebody,
Though no official question has been posed, I thought it was my duty to inform you of some aphid facts since your very recent experience with tainted lettuce on a store bought, organic sandwich. No one knows better than Hogue, who writes "Aphids (Family Aphidae) Aphids are notorious pests of cultivated plants. Prolific breeders, they swiftly spread over the tender growing tips of prize roses and other plants, from which they withdraw large quantities of sap. The result is a wilted, curled, and unsightly mass of leaves or a dead plant. The aphid’s harm is increased by its habit of copiously excreting from the anus a sugary solution called ‘honeydew,’ which covers the host plant with a sticky unsightly residue that often becomes blackened with a growth of sooty mold. Aphids also transmit viral diseases to plants. … Aphids are remarkable for their peculiar modes of reproduction and development, which involve polymorphism (the capability of assuming different body forms). They display life cycles so complicated and varied that they are impossible to summarize here. Parthenogenesis (the development of unfertilized eggs), viviparity (the bearing of live young), and winged and wingless generations are common reproductive phenomena."
One can only guess that the designer store in question found it too costly to clean their organic lettuce in Evian, so they neglected to do so at all to keep the harmful tap water chemicals from their chemical free produce.