Miracle fruit man

The Miami Herald devoted some space last week to Curt Mozie, the retired postman whose miracle fruit trees hit the big time a few years ago.

“There are two major reasons miracle fruit has become popular recently, and one of them is Curtis Mozie,” said Adam Leith Gollner, author of The Fruit Hunters, a book that devotes a chapter to the history of the miracle fruit. “The fruit languished in obscurity, until Curtis came along and decided there was a venture in making this available to the public.”

That’s one reason, but what was the other? I’d guess it was my friend David Barzelay hosting his first miracle fruit party in DC in early 2007. At the time it was very hard to find the berries, with David having to track Curtis down through comments he’d left on message boards. That party led to our blog posts being picked up by BoingBoing, my own parties ending up in the Wall Street Journal and the BBC, and a typically behind-the-times NYT trend piece a year later.

At the time, I think the berries were $1 apiece and Mozie had plenty on hand. Today:

Mozie now ships out roughly 3,000 miracle fruit a week, for $3 a pop and sometimes can’t keep pace with the demand.

Curtis is a nice guy and I’m happy to see him doing so well in retirement with these improbable berries.

I’ve also been meaning to review Gollner’s Fruit Hunters book. It’s entertaining throughout and very informative; until reading it I had no conception of just how vast the world of fruit is and how our markets barely scratch the surface of the planet’s wondrous offerings. It’s some of the best food writing I’ve read in the past few years.


4 thoughts on “Miracle fruit man”

  1. Jacob,
    Thanks for providing the answer of the other reason miracle fruit became so popular. Dave Barzelay contacted me by phoned which stared the ball rolling. When can we all meet ?
    Curtis Mozie

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