Having suffered box-collapse more than once at the Fyshwick
markets, I now insist on a stout container for bearing away the week’s
fruit and vegetables. This week’s box was labelled as below. It
was certainly strong enough; it was designed to carry navels
12,000km across the Pacific, aided by the following precautions:
Food-miles, organic purists, and destitute Mildurans apart, my
main point here concerns the label. The Blue Jay is a bird of eastern
North America. It was virtually unknown in California until its
relatively recent spread to the north of the state, making it, as Wikipedia
notes: ‘now a rare but regularly-seen winter visitor along the northern
US and southern Canada Pacific coast’. Its association with the
east is shown by the selection of it, from 4,000 entries in a ‘name the
team’ competition, to be the symbol of the Toronto Blue Jays when they
secured their baseball franchise in 1976. Its association with the orange
groves of California is tenuous at best. There are several other deserving
resident Californian jays that could have been chosen as a name for their
oranges if they really needed a (frankly irrelevant) bird for that purpose.
Perhaps ‘California Scrub Jay Oranges’ did not have quite the ring
that the marketers were looking for.
My irritation with the label arises from the suspicion that
the Blue Jay was chosen as a handsome bird with a pleasing and not unfamiliar name
that would encourage foreign consumers to try a few of the freshness-enhanced
Californian oranges. “They won’t know we don’t have any
Blue Jays in our orange groves”, they must have said to themselves.
This, in my view, shows contempt for bird-aware, orange-eating Australians.