5 Fruits That Set Off Mass Panic

The idea here is that consumers may want prices low, but if prices drop too low, the producers might go broke. And while you might say, “hey, that’s how business works,” this risks crippling whole industries, depriving us of vital products. Such as raisins. Uh, yes, raisins. Starting in 1937, the Department of Agriculture began holding back raisins from the market, stocking a National Raisin Reserve and keeping prices high.

This was stupid. Arguably, every single one of these government interventions is stupid, but this one was especially stupid. Even if it made any sense during the Great Depression (debatable), it stopped making sense soon thereafter. The raisin industry was never again in danger of crashing, and if it did collapse, we’d all be fine. We could get by on imported raisins or by not eating raisins at all. 

High Fiber Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookies on wire rack.

Joe Foodie/Wiki Commons

You mean we’d have to replace them with chocolate chips? Oh no, the horror!

In fact, raisin producers were against this system, too, because rather than buying all the excess raisins and storing them in some cave, the government seized the crops without paying for them. One farmer rebelled and decided he’d sell all his stuff rather than handing half over for free, and the government fined him $650,000. He appealed all the way to the Supreme Court, who finally ruled that the system was blatantly illegal. 

This should have been obvious. Not only is it written into the constitution, but we’re pretty sure “don’t mess with my grape crop” was the whole message behind the film Gladiator

The Youngest Person to Be Executed in America Was Over a Matter of Strawberries

Here’s a fun fact: The strawberry isn’t a fruit. Not exactly, anyway. Those little bumpy things on the strawberry, which you’d probably call the seeds? Those are the fruits of the strawberry plant, while the thing that you’d call the berry is the receptacle for the fruits. However, when you eat a strawberry, you are still eating fruits (dozens of fruits), so we think it’s valid to include a story about strawberries in this fruit article. Also, we wanted to open with a fun fact, because the rest of this story isn’t very fun at all. 


Ivar Leidus

Even less fun than botanical pedantry

The youngest person ever formally executed in the U.S. was hanged in 1786. America has put some youngsters to death over the years — one 14-year-old, who was later ruled innocent, was too short for the electric chair, so they boosted him by making him sit on a Bible — but Hannah Ocuish set the record, as she was just 12. 

They hanged Hannah for killing a younger girl. Hannah killed that girl while fighting over strawberries. Murder is still punishable by execution in some places, but a few elements of this case suggest Hannah Ocuish would not get capital punishment today. For one thing, she was 12. For another, she appeared to lack the mental capacity for being held liable for murder, even separate from being a child. Hannah was a “fierce young savage” who lived in the woods after having been abandoned by her mother years before.

wild strawberries

Ural-66/Wiki Commons

If these woods had wild strawberries, tragedy may have been averted.

A third possible defense for Hannah: It was justifiable homicide. She murdered for strawberries. Have you ever eaten fresh strawberries? Those things are delicious. 

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