Wednesday, October 15, 2014

let me tell you about apples

About a year ago we purchased the apple orchard next door. It was in rough shape, weeds growing where trees once were, old and tall varieties that pickers don't want to climb for the harvest. We were one of few obvious buyers as the dilapidated property bordered ours.


These ancient trees were gnarled and beautiful and they drew us in. An apple legacy to leave to our children one day. I have learned a lot about apples this year.


We have just completed our first harvest. Our trees laden with fruit. Sweet, crisp, juicy, delicious.

Growing them has ruined me for store-bought apples. There is something unnatural about all of the perfection in the grocery store, waxed shiny outside, unremarkable inside. Pick an apple from our trees and you will most likely pick a worm too. Or a bird peck or a blemish or an apple deemed imperfect. They are dull in luster without the added wax. But I have heard that the birds and worms know how to find the sweetest ones.


As a culture, we have said that fruit must be perfect looking for it to be purchased. Is it possible that in our focus on perfection we have missed out on something better?

Apples aren't the only victims of our visual culture. It happens with people too. I think the people with bumps and bruises on the outside are often sweeter on the inside. It is our wormholes that distinguish us. I could say that you can't judge a book by its cover, but that is actually not my point. You see, I do think the cover matters. It is just what we are looking for in the cover that needs to be adjusted. Perhaps if the value was placed on the actual blemish then people would expose their wounds. After all, it is these life experiences that can grow a person to be gentle, humble, compassionate, and ultimately sweeter with time.


My buying habits have changed of late. I like a piece of fruit that has character, a distinguishing mark, a rough spot, a chip in its covering that lets the delicious odor seep through. This is how I know the fruit has seen the sunlight and felt the rain and withstood the bugs and how I know it hasn't been genetically manufactured in a warehouse. I don't mind a bruise here and there if it means a good story and a certain readiness.


Choosing fruit or choosing friends, what exactly do we value?



A few odd facts:

... The worms in an apple go straight for the core. If you cut out the hole, and don't eat the core, the rest of the apple is perfect!  And often more delicious than the apples without worms.

... An apple a day keeps the constipation at bay, if you really wanted to know.  It is actually my personal theory that this is the origin of the belief that apples kept the doctor away. In the absence of modern medicine, the ancients were obsessed with staying regular as a indication of overall health.

... Apples make great natural toothbrushes. Feeling scummy? Skip the Wrigley's and eat an apple. 

... There are a lot more varieties than just "Red" and "Green". On our property we have Pippin, Red Delicious, Granny Smith, Honey Crisp, Fuji, Yellow Delicious, and Gala apples and have recently planted some experimental varieties with pink flesh like Pink Ladies.
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