National Editor Tom Karst
National Editor Tom Karst

We are hosting a daughter of my cousin for a couple of days this week. Since she grew up in Africa as a missionary's kid and is soon heading to France, we fell into a discussion last night about the differences in cultures and social norms.

Relative to personal interactions, she mentioned that a French woman once told her that Americans are like peaches - fairly easy to get to know and pliable on first touch, but with a hard pit inside that is hard to break through.

In contrast, the French were described as coconuts; hard on the outside; private and difficult to know at first. But once you break through the shell, they will reveal all.

That description seems to ring true. One of the enjoyable parts of managing the Fresh Produce Industry Discussion Group is the mixture of various cultures, since the 4,250 plus members are from dozens of countries.

In my forward American fashion, I started an "introduce yourself" discussion thread on the board, asking members for their hometown, first job in the industry and hobbies.

Now with 150 comments, the brief self-descriptions share an easy commonality that transcends national stereotypes. Check out the discussion - and add your voice - here.


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