We’re lucky in Southern California to have such easy access to fruit. If you don’t have a yard with a fruit tree, chances are you know at least two or three friends who do or you have some public fruiting tree on your block. There’s always some sort of fruit not that far from you! In the documentary The Fruit Hunters, you get to see just how important fruit is to culture and that all over the world people want that ease of walking up to a tree, picking a fruit, and then eating a fruit. The documentary also shows off a rich fruit culture happening in Southern California, specifically in the Hollywood Hills.
The film is made by Yung Chang and is a beautiful looking feast for the eyes. Inspired by Adam Gollner’s book of the same name, it features fruit porn after fruit porn, turning the food items almost into fetishized edibles. He interviews various fruit characters from quirky farmers to serious fruit scientists and does a pretty spectacular job of reenacting important moments in fruit history by way of simple historic recreations and miniature sets. It’s one of the most well done documentaries we’ve seen in a long time.
The most interesting thing about it is that actor Bill Pullman has a huge role in the film playing his fruit loving, Beachwood Canyon living self. He kind of pops into the movie out of nowhere, asserting that he doesn’t have a sense of smell (Which is crazy.) and that he is a passionate fruit advocate and backyard farmer. While waiting for him to say a line as President Thomas J. Whitmore from Independence Day, he serves as a symbol of urban advocates for fruit. He’s a non-fruit trade person very actively trying to enable and celebrate what we can grow in our own neighborhoods and climate.
A big part of his role in the film has to do with the Hollywood Orchard, an organization that seeks to build community through sustainable local foods that we can all share from person to person. They also seek to educate people on fruit growing and food preparation, the basics needed to get your own backyard farm going.
In the film, you see Bill and organization members at events and participating in activities attempting to raise awareness about fruit, starting within their hillside community. We’re not sure if Bill is actually a big figurehead in the organization or if it’s slightly performed for the documentary but you do see that he and his neighbors are extremely passionate about fruits and that they, these people who we likely have seen or met when visiting Beachwood Café, are just as crazy about fruit as the eccentric farmers and market people you hear from earlier in the film.
The Fruit Hunters is a very good documentary and one that will make you want to try new fruits and investigate what fruits are available within your community. You can rent or buy the documentary now on iTunes, which we highly recommend you do. If you want to get involved with fruit locally, you may want to check out what the Hollywood Orchard has going on. Moreover, art and food clique Fallen Fruit is another local something along these lines that we suggest you take a look at.