“Mom says she doesn’t want flowers for Mother’s Day,” I said to my husband Patrick.
“Get her a bouquet she can eat,” he replied. The man is nothing if not consistent.
I started with the Hillcrest location of Edible Arrangements (619-294-3699; ediblearrangements.com). Manager Nicki couldn’t disclose company secrets — how they got the fruit into certain shapes, how they held the bouquets together, etc. — but she did say that the company used cutting tools “that have been specially designed for us.” She then stressed the importance of getting the right fruit at the right time.
“We’re very selective about fruit quality, and we get the fruit locally. It has to be ripe but not too ripe. Strawberries are the number-one offender here. We’ll order ten cases and go through them in two days, but if they’re overly ripe I don’t want them in the arrangements. Even if they look beautiful today, by the time I deliver them to the customer tomorrow, the customer is not going to get the longevity they want.”
A word on that longevity: “If you leave the bouquet unrefrigerated, you should consume it within three to five hours. If you refrigerate it, you can keep it for three to five days. You can order an arrangement and pick it up at the store, or you can have it delivered for $12. We do same-day delivery; we just need an hour’s notice to prepare the arrangements. On a slow day we may do 20, but on Mother’s Day we do up to 300.
“We have about a hundred different arrangements to choose from, one for nearly every occasion. Some of them have double-dipped bananas — half in dark chocolate, half in white Ghirardelli chocolate. We even have fruit dipped in peanut butter. My favorite is called the Fruit Festival [$78–$123, depending on size]. It comes in a copper planter box…it makes a wonderful centerpiece. Included are our signature pineapple daisies — pineapple pieces cut into a daisy shape and fitted with a cantaloupe melon ball at the center. And half the daisy is dipped in chocolate. There are also orange wedges, bright strawberries, cantaloupe, honeydew, Granny Smith apple wedges, and towers of grapes. When they’re in season, we’ll use mangoes, kiwis, and watermelons.”
A few holidays — including, of course, Mother’s Day — get their own special arrangements. “Our most popular is the Mother’s Day Delicious Celebration [$47–$57], but my favorite is the Mother’s Day Berry Chocolate Bouquet. It starts at $69 and goes up to $209 for a banquet-size, which serves upwards of 45 people. But the personal-size ones come in a little basket, and there are pineapple daisies, pineapple hearts, strawberries — half of them dipped in dark chocolate — grape skewers, and cantaloupe wedges.”
Edible Arrangements is a nationwide franchise, a smooth corporate machine. Molly Malloy’s Floral Company in Mission Valley (619-584-8984, mollymalloys.com) is more of a mom ‘n’ pop. Teri told me that she gets fruit-basket fruit from a local farmer’s market.
“We find it has better quality...our baskets have apples, oranges, sometimes bananas and other fruit. If you have a specific request, we’ll get it for you, but otherwise we choose whatever looks best that day. Depending on the season we might have grapes, plums, kiwis, pineapples, papayas, or mangoes. They start at $45, but if you were getting multiple smaller baskets to give as hostess gifts or something, we could drop them to $30 or $35. We like for you to call a day ahead for fruit baskets so we can stop and get the fruit on our way to work, but we can do same-day delivery if you call in the morning. Delivery runs $12.99–$15.99, depending on the area.”
At Impulsive Flowers in Pacific Beach (858-274-4333; impulsiveflowers.net), basic fruit baskets start at $45. Employee Kim says, “They usually have apples, oranges, pineapple, grapes, cantaloupe, or strawberries. Whatever is in season. We usually get our fruit from Henry’s, unless there is a special request. Once a customer asked for a basket with passion fruit and dragon fruit.”