Food Lover: David Karp, Fruit Detective

The food writer-turned-farmer is the main reason we know the word Pomologist. Here, Karp shows the steps it took to make a career out of obscure fruit

Step 1: Move to Los Angeles
“We’ve got farmers’ markets with great produce year-round here. I’m not sure studying fruit would have been a viable career option anywhere else.”

Step 2: Know Your Growers
“I have great relationships with the people behind the booths at the market. They tell me what’s unique or new—or why that Mara des Bois strawberry costs so much.”

Step 3: Write Often
“In addition to writing articles, a huge amount of my career has been spent jotting down notes that I keep organized in files by subject, from the Bolivian achachairú to Japanese yuzu.”

Step 4: Buy Way Too Many Books
“My library now numbers around 2,000 volumes, from general interest to quite specific. I’ve got just the book if you want to learn about the native fruits of the Congo.”

Step 5: Fall in with the Pomologists
“I’ve joined groups like the American Pomological Society, California Rare Fruit Growers, and the North American Fruit Explorers.”

Step 6: Grow Your Own
“In partnership with Andy’s Orchard in Morgan Hill, I’m growing some incredible heirloom stone fruit varieties that we’re finally able to bring to the market.”

David Karp is one of 25 L.A. “Food Lovers” featured in our November, 2014 Food Lovers Guide on newsstands now.